CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Directors Recall Battles With Sony To Cast Tom Holland As SPIDER-MAN
Cherry directors Joe and Anthony Russo have reflected on casting Tom Holland as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, revealing the struggles they faced working with Sony Pictures at the time...
Tom Holland made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Spider-Man in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, but it sounds a lot like directors Joe and Anthony Russo struggled to get Sony Pictures on board with that casting.
During an interview with GQ, Joe admits that casting Peter Parker proved to be a "unique experience" due to the fact that they found themselves working with a rival studio.
"I can’t think of another time in movie history where two studios shared an asset as valuable as Spider-Man," he explains. "So, of course, this made it a little bit of a complicated process from a casting standpoint. Like, who is going to be responsible for the casting of this role? Anthony and I are extremely opinionated and very bullish in our opinions, especially when it comes to cast because we cherish our opinions with them and have a very particular taste when it comes to our work style."
The Russo Brothers fully credit casting director Sarah Halley Finn with finding Holland, and seemingly blame Sony for slowing down the process!
"We talked with Feige at Marvel about Holland and he got excited and then we went to Sony," continues Joe. "And they were like, ‘Let’s think about it for a minute.’ We could tell we were meeting resistance from Sony. So we brought [Holland] back, brought him back, brought him back, and we were relentless in our pursuit of jamming him down the throat of the studio who owns this IP. It came down to a fight, yet Sony just kept dragging their feet."
Asked what they believe held things up, the Russos explain that it felt like the studio was "reticent, nervous, about handing off something that could ultimately cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars down the line."
That's understandable; Marvel Studios had delivered countless hits by 2016, but if they cast the wrong actor as Spider-Man, it would set the franchise back even further after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 disappointed.
Anthony adds: "Sony’s reservations were: ‘Are we loaning it? Or are we giving it to them to help us reinvent it in a way that adds value for us?' It was the first time Spider-Man had ever been cast as an actual teenager, right? Which was very important to us; there was a distinct nervousness of casting a kid."
It all worked out in the end, of course, and Holland has spent the past six years playing the web-slinger. What the future holds in store for him beyond Spider-Man: No Way Home remains to be seen, but we know that there's at least one more MCU appearance in store for his Peter Parker in the coming years.
Click on the "Next" button below to check out things you
never knew about Sony's plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 3!
10. The Sinister Six Recruits Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wrapped up with the reveal that Harry Osborn and Gustav Friers had managed to get their hands on technology capable of outfitting a team of villains. That would have meant skipping the origin stories of the characters, which was an odd decision when they're not just bad guys in fancy suits.
Sinister Six was going to spin out of the events of this sequel, with Drew Goddard's film expected to feature Doctor Octopus recruiting Spidey to his team under false pretences before his true colors were revealed.
The team was set to battle the alien Gog in the Savage Land, with the MacGuffin of this version the actual Pandora's Box.
Another idea was to have Spider-Man don the Venom symbiote to ask for this group's help in stopping Carnage, though that idea appeared to be scrapped after the alien costume was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2's final sequence showing what was hidden in the bowels of Oscorp.
9. Norman Osborn Returns
Norman Osborn died in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, setting Harry Osborn on the path to becoming the Green Goblin.
It was a new direction to take the characters in, as it's always been Norman who first became the Goblin in the comics. There were, however, future plans for Chris Cooper's version of this iconic villain.
In a scene cut from the sequel, it was to be revealed that Gustav Friers was keeping Norman's head in Oscorp with a plan to bring him back from the dead. How he was supposed to grow a body isn't clear, though there have been other hints when it comes to the means of his resurrection.
We'll touch on those later, but it's likely this Goblin would have resembled his Ultimate counterpart.
8. Spider-Man Resurrects The Dead
Full details have never been shared about Marc Webb's plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, but the premise of the film was Peter Parker finding a way to use his blood to resurrect his loved ones.
Denis Leary had signed up to return as Captain George Stacy, and this was likely going to explain Norman Osborn's miraculous return as well. It appears there would have been a catch, and these previously dead friends and allies would have come back Pet Sematary-style.
It's hard to believe this was in the works, but it's been confirmed by multiple sources.
There's a chance this would have borrowed ideas from "The Clone Saga" storyline, but it's unclear whether this meant there were further plans for Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy.
7. Ambitious Plans To Outdo Marvel Studios With Sinister Six
With Marvel Studios finding the success that Sony Pictures desperately craved with their own Marvel characters, Sony Hack emails revealed ambitious plans to outdo the competition.
With Doctor Strange on the horizon, Sony execs believed that stealing Tom Hardy from Marvel (the actor was then among the top picks to play the Sorcerer Supreme) was their path to success. The plan was to cast him as Sandman, and make the villain even bigger than in Spider-Man 3.
"He's gonna storm through London at the end like God-f***ing-zilla," read one email. "That is not purple prose. He's going to be AS TALL AS A SKYSCRAPER in the third act of the movie. What does Dr. Strange have? Magic tricks? F*** you, magic tricks — we've got a skyscraper Tom Hardy knocking down buildings!!!!"
That's a real email, FYI. Crazy.
6. Emma Stone Returns...As Gwen Stacy Carnage!
Emma Stone was still a rising star in 2014 when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released, so it's easy enough to understand why Sony was keen to keep her a regular part of this franchise.
This was only ever a rumor, but if true, the actress was going to return as a Gwen Stacy combined with the Carnage symbiote. That's what happened in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, and it was controversial there, so we can't say for sure how fans might have responded to this being in a film.
There were conflicting reports about how this was supposed to tie into the Venom film being developed by Alex Kurtzman, but Spidey contending with his girlfriend being part-human, part-monster might have been fun to watch.
It's unclear whether Stone was on board with this direction for her character.
5. Sinister Six's A-List Cast
It seems Sinister Six went through a number of iterations, but there was one thing every version had in common: an A-List cast Sony hoped would blow away the competition.
One version of the team was to have featured Spider-Man fighting alongside Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Sandman, Mysterio, and Black Cat. Idris Elba, Francis McDormand, Bryan Cranston and Jackie Chan were wanted for undisclosed roles, as were Woody Harrelson, Channing Tatum, Joel Edgerton, and Jason Clarke.
Chris O'Dowd, Michael Peña, Seth Rogen, and Danny McBride were among the actors the studio hoped would bring their comedic skills to the spinoff.
Whether Sony could actually sign any of them up was never revealed.
4. Marc Webb's Final Amazing Spider-Man Film
It's a little known fact that despite Sony announcing plans to release The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4, Marc Webb was only going to direct the former.
The filmmaker planned to take on a consultant role with the fourth film, handing directing duties to another filmmaker. At the time, it was widely speculated online that Drew Goddard might make the leap to the main franchise after working on Sinister Six for the studio.
That would have been a solid enough pick, but it's interesting that Webb was getting ready to move on.
He was clearly happy enough to finish his trilogy, but it seems Webb was ready to leave the franchise to be taken in a new direction once he was done with that.
3. Felicity Jones Suits Up As Black Cat
Felicity Jones had a bit part in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but there were future plans for "Felicia" in this Marvel Universe.
The name is a dead giveaway; Jones was going to don a catsuit to play Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, in Sinister Six and The Amazing Spider-Man 3, potentially serving as a new ally and love interest to Peter Parker.
It's likely she was in Oscorp with a plan of stealing that tech from Harry Osborn, but when this series was cancelled, so were plans to bring Black Cat to the silver screen. Silver & Black was later developed, of course, but that was not set in this world and there was no mention of Jones being sought after to reprise the role. Now, it too has been scrapped.
It's a shame, because she would have been a great pick!
2. The Spider-Slayers
The Spider-Slayers are rumored to be part of Marvel's Spider-Man 3, a fitting decision if Peter Parker is on the run after being framed for Quentin Beck's murder.
Early rumors for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, however, also claimed that there were plans for these robotic enemies of the web-slinger. It's no great surprise when B.J. Novak played Alistair Smythe in the second film, though it seems doubtful J. Jonah Jameson was going to be involved given his absence from this iteration of Spider-Man's world.
There was clearly an overarching plan for this series, and Smythe sending these robots after Peter at the behest of Oscorp would have been a logical next step.
We can't say we're heartbroken this didn't happen, but it might have been fun to watch.
1. Crossover With The MCUs
The Sony Hack emails made it clear that Sony was keen on the idea of crossing over with the MCU, and rumors persisted during both of The Amazing Spider-Man films that there were plans to include Avengers Tower as an Easter Egg.
An MCU crossover was high up on the list of the studio's priorities, and an early hope was that Captain America could appear in the threequel, setting up a possible appearance in Civil War.
As these talks progressed, and Andrew Garfield fell out of favor with Sony brass in Japan, it became clear Marvel Studios wanted to reboot the web-slinger. However, it's hard not to wonder what it might have looked like for this version of Spidey to join the MCU.
Then again, that reboot is probably for the best all things considered!