The Kidd here...
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is all you're sure to hear about this week, and you'll find interviews and reviews galore over the course of the next few days as we head closer and closer to this Friday's release date. Of course that means plenty of Sam Raimi in the news, as we've already seen with his recent revelation that he'll be working on an EVIL DEAD 4 script over the summer. But while Raimi is looking ahead to what's next, he's also been a bit more frank about taking a glimpse back into the past, namely two very high profile projects that he was involved in that just didn't come to fruition - WORLD OF WARCRAFT and SPIDER-MAN 4.
Let's start with WORLD OF WARCRAFT, which, of course was to be based off Blizzard Entertainment's immensely popular and incredibly time-consuming MMORPG. Raimi was originally set to helm the tent pole for Legendary Pictures back in 2009 before he eventually departed and went onto commit to OZ. Duncan Jones has since taken the job, but there hasn't been a lot said about where things went wrong on Raimi's vision for the project... that is, until now.
Speaking to Vulture, Raimi speaks of the "mismanagement" that ultimately caused the project to fold with him at the helm and how Blizzard shoulders a lot of the blame.
"Robert Rodat was working on the script, and it was taking a long time. I think they were getting a little antsy at Legendary, the production company. Actually, what happened was even more complicated, so let me go back a little bit. First, they asked me if I wanted to make it, and I said, 'Yes, I love World of Warcraft, and I think it would make a great picture.' So I read a screenplay they had that was written by the guys at [Warcraft developer] Blizzard, and it didn't quite work for me. I told them I wanted to make my own original story with Robert, so we pitched it to Legendary and they accepted it, and then we pitched it to Blizzard, and they had reservations, but they accepted it. Then Robert wrote the screenplay, and only once he was done did we realize that Blizzard had veto power, and we didn't know that. And they had never quite approved the original story we pitched them. Those reservations were their way of saying, 'We don't approve this story, and we want to go a different way,' so after we had spent nine months working on this thing, we basically had to start over. And Robert did start over, but it was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out. Honestly, I think it was mismanagement on their behalf, not to explain to us that the first story was vetoed long ago. Why did they let us keep working on it? Were they afraid to tell me?"
As for SPIDER-MAN 4, that's a film I absolutely was dead-set on seeing. In fact, I'm pretty sure there's a small piece of bitterness over that film not happening that continues to live on and fester inside my being, which is part of the baggage I subconsciously carried into THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, its replacement on Sony's slate. I've long held that Sony put Raimi in an impossible situation to try to make that film, developing what became TASM at the same time Raimi was in pre-production on SPIDEY 4, trying to work through script issues; it always seemed as if the rug was pulled out from under him, in order to restart a franchise that they held more creative control over. However, Raimi seems to have made his peace with the fact that SPIDER-MAN 4 didn't happen, and, while he would have loved the chance to redeem the series after SPIDER-MAN 3, he preferred to make no new Spider-Man movie than a bad one.
"It really was the most amicable and undramatic of breakups: It was simply that we had a deadline and I couldn't get the story to work on a level that I wanted it to work. I was very unhappy with SPIDER-MAN 3, and I wanted to make SPIDER-MAN 4 to end on a very high note, the best SPIDER-MAN of them all. But I couldn't get the script together in time, due to my own failings, and I said to Sony, 'I don't want to make a movie that is less than great, so I think we shouldn't make this picture. Go ahead with your reboot, which you've been planning anyway.' And [Sony co-chairman] Amy Pascal said, 'Thank you. Thank you for not wasting the studio's money, and I appreciate your candor.' So we left on the best of terms, both of us trying to do the best thing for fans, the good name of Spider-Man, and Sony Studios."
And just to satisfy your curiosity, he did confirm Anne Hathaway would have played Felicia Hardy, which would have been in addition to John Malkovich's Vulture. Oh, how I'd love to get my hands on that script to see what could have been...
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
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