Chris Columbus Almost Directed Spider-Man

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Last week while talking with our friends from ComicBook.com to promote his latest movie Pixels, the legendary 80s director revealed that one of the greatest inspirations of his life was reading Spider-Man comic books when he was a kid. The director of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone not only was inspired by Spider-Man and is a life-long comic book fan, but also revealed that he got fired from Fox first attempt of a Fantastic Four film because he wanted to keep it close to the source material, making the film more “Jack Kirby-Esque“.

And now we just found an interesting tidbit, it seems that before Sam Raimi was hired to direct Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man, Chris Columbus was Amy Pascal’s frontrunner to path the way of the webhead into the big screens.

While recently answering a question on Spring.me, film and music video director Joseph Kahn (Torque, Power/Rangers, Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood) revealed that around 1997-1998 he met with Sony’s Amy Pascal to pitch his idea for a Transformers movie. While that never happened and Michael Bay was the one getting the gig at Paramount, on the way out he asked her who was directing Spider-Man. She answered “maybe Chris Columbus“. Pascal then asked Kahn who he thought should direct it, and he replied Sam Raimi, to Amy Pascal’s surprise, since he was her “dark horse” choice. Khan explained to Pascal that he thought Sam Raimi’s visual style reminded him of his favorite Spider-Man artist, Todd McFarlane, in cinematic form, tone and wit. Accordingly with Khan, Pascal then replied “You know what, I’m gonna give him the job“, and one month after, Sam Raimi and his crew started prepping Spider-Man on the Sony lot.

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Sam Raimi went to direct what are considered by many two of the best Spider-Man films and arguably one of the best films of the genre in Spider-Man 2, but the idea of a Spider-Man film helmed by Chris Columbus is at the very least an intriguing one. While Chris Columbus latest movie Pixels is not a critical darling by any means, putting the blame on the director’s shoulders is unfair and, after all, before blowing everyone away with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Russo Brothers last big screen film was You, Me And Dupree.

The idea of getting the up and coming Jon Watts to direct the first entry of this new incarnation of Spider-Man that is finally set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was met with cautious enthusiasm, but it’s clear that Marvel and Sony really liked Jon Watts latest film Cop Car, and he seems to have a vision that fits where the studios want to head next with the character. Like we have previously reported, the next Spider-Man film is going for a John Hughes vibe, and although is definitely possible that Jon Watts and the recently confirmed Spider-Man screenwriters John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein can pull it off under the guidance of Kevin Feige, if Marvel is truly serious about giving this incarnation of Spider-Man a “Hughes-esque” flavor, it could be wise to consider getting Chris Columbus involved at some capacity, if not right out of the gate in the first film, in the sequels.

Chris Columbus not only directed the first two Harry Potter films, he’s the screenwriter of the quintessential 80’s movies Gremlins and The Goonies, he’s the director of the first two Home Alone movies that were written by John Hughes, and accordingly to the eulogy that he wrote when Hughes passed away back in 2009, Columbus sees in Hughes one of the two people that had most influence on his career, the other being Steven Spielberg.

Marvel Studios has experienced great success changing directors from a film to another with the Captain America franchise, so maybe getting Chris Columbus to help pen the screenplay of the new Spider-Man film and/or even directing the sequel of Jon Watts Spider-Man? Regardless of how much the critics don’t seem to appreciate Chris Columbus Pixels or John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein directorial debut Vacation (a direct sequel to 1983’s John Hughes National Lampoon’s Vacation), getting Columbus on board the Spider-Man “Brain Trust” all under the leadership of Kevin Feige could make for a hell of a dream team. 

(Adam Züge)

Heroic Staff

Heroic Staff

Heroic Special Activities Division Agent Trainee Program