Can you picture James Franco playing Spider-Man instead of Tobey Maguire? Well, turns out Harry Osborn didn’t just want to exact revenge against Peter Parker but he wanted to become the superhero. Literally. But looks like he got his way neither in the film nor off the screen.
In a perhaps ironic twist of events, the anti-hero actually had his eyes set on the role of the heroic protagonist. This was back when the 2002 film was still in its nascent stage of development and no actor had yet been attached to the role of Spider-Man. Amongst the ones who wanted to portray the superhero was Franco, the actor who later ended up getting the role of the antagonist instead.
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James Franco Originally Auditioned for the Role of Spider-Man
There’s no doubt that James Franco was the perfect iteration of Harry Osborn. But surprisingly enough, he never actively sought out to depict the character of Green Goblin’s son; he aspired to bag the superhero’s role instead. For Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Franco, 44, had originally given an audition for Peter Parker, which as we all know, later went to Tobey Maguire.
In an old interview with Paly Voice, the 127 Hours star revealed how he’d tried his luck at becoming Spider-Man at the beginning of it all.
“Well I first auditioned for the role of Peter Parker which went well and I went and did a test and the test is more extensive than a regular audition because it puts you on film. So they spent a lot of money on the sets and cranes which is unusual for an audition. So I went and did that and was waiting around, and biting my nails for six weeks.”
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Sadly enough though, he didn’t get the role but there was one character that no other actor had auditioned for yet at that time, that of Harry Osborn. So while Franco had set out to play Peter Parker, he eventually ended up depicting his best friend-turned-nemesis on the screen instead.
“And then I found out I didn’t get it and I was disappointed. But then Sam Raimi, the director called me, and we got along so well, and he asked me [if I wanted] the role of Harry. No one else auditioned for the role.”
However, while Maguire did score the role at the end of the day, he was certainly not too thrilled about having to audition for it. And it didn’t help that he wasn’t the only actor on the list of potential candidates either.
Tobey Maguire Wasn’t the Only Choice for Spider-Man’s Role
When the Brothers actor first went to audition as Peter Parker, he managed to impress the director in no time. But the studio on the other hand wasn’t so sure about casting Maguire as the superhero, something which as the 47-year-old had later admitted got to his ego. “My ego was a little rubbed,” Maguire once said on The Howard Stern Show.
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Not to mention, there were already a number of other actors including Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio and Top Gun: Maverick actor Tom Cruise, who were being considered for the role of Spider-Man at the time. Safe to say the studio was exploring quite a good amount of options before they took the Babylon star on board. But as they say, all’s well that ends well and the Spider-Man trilogy definitely thrived under Maguire’s rule.
Source: Paly Voice