spiderman homecoming

A couple weeks back, I was lucky to jump on the phone with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and Sony studio head turned producer Amy Pascal to talk about their new film Spider-Man: Homecoming. I ask the duo about the lessons they learned from the last Amazing Spider-Man franchise failure, the influence of Back to the Future, was the Trump campaign an influence on the film’s villain, why they watched an Akira Kurosawa movie in prep for the film, and we discuss what the end credits scene means. All this and more. Read the full Spider-Man: Homecoming Interview, after the jump.

Kevin Feige: Hi, Peter, how are you?

Peter Sciretta: Good.  How are you?

Kevin: I can’t remember the last time we did a phoner together.  I don’t like it.

Peter: I don’t think we’ve actually done a phoner before. Yeah, I don’t like it either.  I hate phoners. Would rather do this in person but couldn’t travel to New York.

Amy Pascal: Hi, Peter.

Peter: Hi Amy.  Congratulations on the movie, I love it.  

Amy: Oh that’s wonderful.

amazing spider-man questions

Peter: It, I’ll start off with the hard question.  

Amy: Oh good.

Peter: It seems like fans didn’t connect with the last version of Spider-Man.  What lessons did you both take from that and apply to this?

Kevin: For me it was yes, you take lessons from every movie you see really, but it was less about that and more about… and this is what Amy and I talked about in her office and in her house when we were initially discussing this.

Amy: Figuring it out.

Kevin: This is the first time Spidey can interact with all the characters that he’s been with in the comics his entire existence.  And it was always about the first, the first time he actually is in our universe.  The first time you could see him go and yearn to be part of a superhero team, which he did, I think maybe, in his very first issue.  The first time that he was age appropriate for the entire film.  Which added to the dichotomy of him versus the other heroes that we’ve established.  So from my point of view it was really it was less about avoid this or avoid that, it was more about hey, for the first time if we make the movie together, we could do these things.  And that is always what inspired our conversations.

Amy: It was always about that opportunity to put him in the world that he was meant to be in.

Kevin: Yeah.  And that being said, I do think it’s fair to say that when we were doing the first Spider-Man film the notion of seeing a Spider-Man soar through the skyscrapers of New York City in a single camera shot was unbelievably amazing and exciting and had never been done before.  It’s now been done.

Amy: Yeah, but now we have to see something else.

Kevin: Yeah, so that, so the notion of a field trip to D.C., a chase sequence through the suburbs, I think that probably informed the desire to showcase different things.  And again, that came from the comics too.  Great issue in the comics where he’s stuck in the suburbs and has to ride the bus, top of a bus to get home when he doesn’t have the buildings around.  As you see in Homecoming, he leaps off the roof of a house, shoots his web and then you get behind him and it keeps going and doesn’t connect to anything because he’s in a big golf course and he just has to run.

Back to the Future Part II

Peter: I love that aspect of the film.  I know you have a basis in the comics, but it almost seems like this film is more influenced by like 1980’s high school movies than the comics.  And I know Kevin is a big Back to the Future fan.  I saw a lot of Marty McFly in there I think.  

Kevin: I love that you say that and people say high school movie and of course John Hughes was a touch point for us.  How could it not be?  We grew up with it.  But Back to the Future, yes, he’s a high school kid, nobody would call Back to the Future a high school movie, they call it a great time travel adventure.  This is a great superhero adventure with that backdrop.  But you’re right the moment and that was not intentional necessarily, but if you look at… a bunch of Star Wars action figures in Peter’s and some vintage action figures too that I think he got when he was dumpster diving in the background of Peter’s room in there now.  And also there’s that moment where Ned has discovered his secret, he’s got no shirt on, May is banging at the door, he turns around and he goes, Aunt May, just a minute and I went oh my God, he’s Marty. He’s Marty.  And that’s just part of the charm of Tom Holland.  I don’t think that was intentionally channeling that for him.  I think he just shares in common with Michael J. Fox at that time.  The sort of exuberant, youthful exuberance of the position he’s in.

Peter: Totally.  And even in his suit and how it wraps around him reminded me of Back to the Future Part II.  But enough about that.  

Amy: Isn’t it great, that scene?

Kevin: I clearly never thought about that until now, but that’s awesome.  Yeah.

jennifer connelly

Peter: Can you talk about Jennifer Connelly as the Suit Lady, because I don’t think I heard you talk about casting her yet anywhere.

Kevin: Peter, well done.  I’ve been doing this for two days–

Amy: We haven’t heard one person say that. Whoa.  That’s a little nitwit.

Kevin: They had this conceit and it actually grew in post that he would interact with his suit and we liked the idea of it being a female voice that Peter, that Tony’s programmed into it.  And it actually came about pretty quickly.  We were talking about who could do it.  And she popped up for two, for three reasons.  One, she’s a great actress, can do anything she wants.  Two, she inhabits some of the classic ’80s films that helped to inspire us behind the scenes.  And three and most meta, she’s married to Jarvis.

Amy: Right.  So that is pretty great.

Peter: That is great.  I didn’t even think about that.

Amy: Nobody’s picked up on it.

Kevin: Yup.

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