In November 1999, Ain’t It Cool News reported that Sony had narrowed their choices for the big screen adaptation of Marvel’s Spider-Man down to four directors: Barry Sonnenfeld, Michael Bay, Chris Columbus and David Fincher. Michael Bay passed on the project saying the script needed work (talk about funny) and it was later reported that Fincher passed because “it wasn’t his thing”. I’ve always wondered how Fincher’s name got in the mix, and what Fincher’s vision for Spider-Man would have been. Recently Fincher sat down to answer questions for The Guardian, and the filmmaker was asked about the project.
“I was asked if I might be interested in the first Spider-Man…” “I’m not interested in doing ‘A Superhero’. The thing I liked about Spider-Man was I liked the idea of a teenager, the notion of this moment in time when you’re so vulnerable yet completely invulnerable. But I wasn’t interested in the genesis, I just couldn’t shoot somebody being bitten by a radioactive spider – just couldn’t sleep knowing I’d done that.” … “I went in and told them what I might be interested in doing, and they hated it.”
I also once heard that Fincher’s pitch involved the death of Gwen Stacy and at one point he relented to the idea of showing some of Spidey’s origin (or maybe pre-origin) in flashbacks. I’ve also read elsewhere rumors that Fincher wanted Edward Norton to play Peter Parker, not sure if it is true or not.
As much as I love David Fincher’s incredible films, and as much as I’m curious to see what he would have done, I’m kinda glad he never had the chance. I wasn’t a big fan of the first Spider-Man movie, but to me Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 nailed the comic book. I’m not sure the tone, story, and characters could have been presented any better.