It was Sam Raimi’s 2002 masterpiece, Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire that gave the Marvel audience its first definitive superhero blockbuster. The film was a genre-defining creation that to this day sets the precedent for the formulaic success of the CBM industry. Even as it brought one of Hollywood’s then-emergent actors and beloved television stars to the forefront of the superhero business, the Sam Raimi film was only the beginning of a long and successful relationship between Sony, Marvel, and the infamous Spider-Man IP.
However, all of it would be just as easily lost to the audience if the leading man hadn’t made an impression on the casting director with his bold demo action sequence.
Tobey Maguire Almost Wasn’t Cast as Spider-Man By Sony
Surprisingly, Tobey Maguire — the definitive Peter Parker and most famous Spider-Man actor — was not the first choice for the studio when it came to choosing the leading man for Sony’s 2002 film. The web-slinging superhero saving the day all around New York City was to be adapted onto the big screens for a three-part narrative dictated by Spider-Man director, Sam Raimi.
On The Howard Stern Show, the host asks actor Tobey Maguire, “It is a dream job. Were you competing with a lot of guys, or was it [decided] right from the get-go that you were going to be Spider-Man?” and whether he was insulted to learn that he wasn’t the studio’s preferred lead, the young actor replies:
“In Sam [Raimi]’s mind, I was the guy, but the studio wasn’t sold on me immediately… My ego was rubbed a little bit… I wanted to do it.”
Even though Raimi vouched for Maguire being the right actor for the role, it wasn’t until the latter proved his credibility in a screening test that the coveted suit of the wall-crawler was handed to him.
Tobey Maguire Recalls How He Landed the Spider-Man Role
During his appearance on Howard Stern’s show, the Spider-Man actor recalls the tenuous process of going after the Spider-Man role and how he finally managed to impress the casting directors:
“It was a bit of a process, but first we did like an audition on videotape in a little room, and they got it. It took them a couple of weeks to see it… and they said, ‘Well we know he can act but we want to see him do an action scene.’
So we did a proper screen test and I wore a blue unitard. And you know, the unitard compresses your muscles so you couldn’t see definition and I was in pretty good shape. So I pulled the thing down and tied it off at my waist and did the fight scene topless.”
Needless to say, whatever happened during that demo action sequence worked to the benefit of all parties involved since the trilogy that was delivered soon after became one of the most definitive and well-loved franchise stories of all time.
Source: The Howard Stern Show