Sam Raimi Reveals Why He Left WORLD OF WARCRAFT and SPIDER-MAN 4

by     Posted 1 year, 264 days ago

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Once upon a time, Spider-Man director Sam Raimi was set to direct the adaptation of Blizzard’s uber-successful MMORPG, World of Warcraft. It was a time for celebration amongst movie fans and gamers alike as Raimi seemed like a bold, exciting choice for the project which promised to rival the scope of films such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And then, with the wave of a wizard’s staff, Raimi was off the project. While World Of Warcraft is now getting back on track with Duncan Jones (Source Code) in the director’s chair, we never quite knew what was the cause behind Raimi’s departure.

Until today that is. Hit the jump for the full story, including further details on why he also left Spider-Man 4, and what he thinks of Marvel’s wonder boy, Joss Whedon.

Speaking to Vulture about Raimi’s latest film, Oz The Great and Powerful, the director had this to say about his experience on WoW:

You’re no longer attached to the World of Warcraft movie, and now Duncan Jones is making it.

SAM RAIMI: I loved his movie Moon, and I think he’s a strikingly talented director. I bet that if anyone can do a great job with it, it’s him.

What was the biggest obstacle on that project?

RAIMI: 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??

sam-raimi-spider-man-3-set-photoWith Blizzard’s own Chris Metzen over seeing story, this is not surprising to hear. Also, interesting to note is Raimi’s further thoughts on leaving the Spider-Man franchise:

“I hope enough time has passed that you feel comfortable talking about Spider-Man 4, which was in preproduction and began casting but fell apart before shooting began. What happened there?

RAIMI: 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.”

quick-and-the-dead-sharon-stoneAnd for the true, old-school Raimi fans out there, here’s a moment where he touches base on meeting Joss Whedon, who came in for some clean-up work on his 1994 western The Quick and the Dead:

RAIMI: “Joss Whedon is an extraordinarily talented filmmaker … and in fact, in 1994, I was making a western called The Quick and the Dead and having a script problem, and I came to the studio and said, “Can you find me a writer? I’ve shot this movie, and the end isn’t quite working.” And ultimately, the movie didn’t quite work. But they suggested Joss Whedon, who was doing Buffy, so I met Joss and he saw the movie, and he helped me solve this ending in one afternoon. I thought, Damn, you’re a good writer! I wish I could have had you rewrite the whole movie and save this picture! But I’ll never forget how good he was, and how precise, so when I saw The Avengers, I was not surprised that his name was on it. It’s a very hard job to take all those heroes and all those stories and know exactly what bits the audience needs and what they don’t need.”




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  • Chris Etrata

    When Amy Pascal said, “Thank you for not wasting the company’s money.” I kept thinking that Sony secretly wanted Sam Raimi out.

    • Ian

      Definitely. They wanted full control of Spider-Man, hence why they hired Marc Webb, because he had zero power and say in the development of the movie. He’ll just shoot it and make it look nice but the studio wanted to call all the shots and make all the decisions. It’s why ASM is so all over the place – you can see that it was a bunch of studio notes, not a screenplay. Same thing happened while shooting part 3.

      • Anonymous

        THANK YOU. I was honestly beginning to believe I was the only one who didn’t think ASM’s script, and even direction, was all over the place.

  • tarek

    Sony are good in making electronics, not in making movies.

    I think that the 3D thing was also one of the major disputes between Raimi and Sony.

    • Tom

      I dunno, I think Sony is pretty good at making movies, considering that they produced Ghostbusters, Underworld, every Spider-man movie, Men in Black, and the entire slew (I know some sucked) of Karate Kid films.

      They also own Screen Gems, Columbia, Stage6 Films, Destination Films, Fearnet, Triumph Films, Tri-Star, and Sony Pictures Classics.

      That’s billions and billions of dollars.

      And yes, the 3D was a hangup, but they also rejected the villain he wanted (Vulture) and are the ones that forced three villains on him for the 3rd. They gave him writers that messed up how the Venom symbiote was brought to earth, too. They must have forgotten the bit in Spiderman 2 when young Jameson brings it back from space.

      • tarek

        No. Sony didn’t produce Ghostbusters (Columbia), nor they have produced Underworld (Lakeshore Entertainment). They swallowed Columbia Pictures and all their catalogue.

        Sony Pictures is a very bad production studio. They like to have full control over directors.
        that’s why they picked up Webb.

      • Tom

        Sony has owned Columbia and everything that is part of Columbia since 1989 (though Ghostbusters came out long before that…so I was wrong) . Sony has a hand in every movie that they’ve made…because Sony owns that company. Whether they want to choose everything that a director does doesn’t matter in this conversation.

        They own everything that I said that they do and have a hand in Lakeshore productions. Take note, Screen Gems is part of Sony. Sony was even sued by the creator of Vampire: The Masquerade over Underworld.

  • EVM

    Well,even if Raimi doesn’t bring it up here,the word that came out about 4 was that he was fighting the same battles all over again that he had to deal with on 3, mainly that Sony didn’t want to see another ‘old’,'corny’,'unsexy’ Silver Age villain — The Vulture — and didn’t want to see another ‘old’,'unsexy’ actor co-anchoring their tentpole movie. So they start all over again,but instead of Spidey’s classic enemies, they decide to throw benchwarmers like Lizard,Electro and Rhino into the starting lineup? At least they give themselves somewhere to go with the sequels,I guess,but it makes no sense to pace yourself out when you’re spending this much on spectacle.

  • Farzan

    So its 2010 and Sony tells Raimi that they want the film ready for summer 2011. Raimi says he wants a great script and wants to take his time to make the best Spider-Man film ever. Tells Sony to delay the movie to give him enough time to really deliver another excellent Spidey flick like the first two films.

    Sony says NO and ends up rebooting the series, which ends up coming out a whole year after. So I have to ask……why the f*ck couldn’t Sony wait the extra year to release Spidey 4 when it could have been the best Spidey flick ever commercially and critically instead of bringing out the rebooted mess known as AMSM?

    • Keenan

      EXACTLY!!!

    • Duder NME

      Because nothing is guaranteed and Poppa Sony needs a brand new franchise! : rolls dice… snake eyes :

    • The one

      Well the main reason they did not wait was because the company was on a time table. If they had not come out with a movie sooner the rights would have reverted back to marvel. Also it ticks me off how it’s always Sony fault when it was Ramini fault as well. Ramini fired one of the writers as well as fired elfman. The thing was with each Spidey movie dude was getting the big head. He was the one that put In that ridiculous dance scene as well as come up with the stupid idea that it was sandman that shot peters uncle. He hated the venom character and it showed in the movie because he made the character a joke. He had setup curt conners perfectly in the movie and he still was not going to do a lizard story. He was also going to make another love triangle in which Peter probably would have been crying as usually.

      • J Wilson

        The reboot came out a year later, yet the rights didn’t revert, chief.

  • Pingback: Sam Raimi on Spider-Man 3 and Spider-Man 4 | Musings of a Mild Mannered Man

  • The one

    Well the main reason they did not wait was because the company was on a time table. If they had not come out with a movie sooner the rights would have reverted back to marvel. Also it ticks me off how its always Sony fault when it was Ramini fault as well. Ramini fired one of the writers as well as fired elfman. The thing was with each Spidey movie dude was getting the big head. He was the one that put In that ridiculous dance scene as well as come up with the stupid idea that it was sandman that shot peters uncle. He hated the venom character and it showed in the movie because he made the character a joke. He had setup curt conners perfectly in the movie and he still was not going to do a lizard story. He was also going to make another love triangle in which Peter probably would have been crying as usually.

  • Pingback: Sam Raimi interview: Oz, Warcraft, The Shadow, Spider-Man | Musings of a Mild Mannered Man

  • Tom

    Sony had to be WORKING on a Spiderman film for the rights not to revert to Marvel. That’s why they wanted one quickly. The movie didn’t have to be out yet. It had to be in the process of being made. Script finished at the very least.

    This is the same reason that Fox is fast-tracking Fantastic Four and consistently pumps out X-Men or movies involving X-Men every few years. (That, and the millions of dollars that are guaranteed)

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