Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Emo Peter Parker In ‘Spider-Man 3’

The Marvel Cinematic Universe run by Kevin Feige and the Mouse is so ubiquitous that we sometimes forget our onscreen Marvel superheroes had humble beginnings. Take Spider-Man, for instance, who first shot his web over at Sony back in 2002. Played by Tobey Maguire, this version of Spider-Man was madly in love with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), conflicted about his family-friend status with the Osborns, and... a little emo. 

Yes, many fans of the original Spider-Man trilogy may have tried to scrub emo Spider-Man from their memories, but he has lived on in meme format since his debut in 2007. Emo Peter Parker raised a lot of questions for fans regarding the trajectory of the series - and how everyone kept their composure behind the scenes of Spider-Man 3 as Maguire shimmied down the sidewalk with regrettable slicked-down bangs. 

  • Sam Raimi Didn’t Want To Write The Jazz Club Scene Because He Didn’t Like Watching Parker Go Dark

    There was a lot of contention between director Sam Raimi and Sony Pictures during the development and production of Spider-Man 3. Raimi didn't want to include Venom, but the studio pushed for the villain since he is such a fan favorite. Raimi opened up about Parker's transformation into the emo Symbiote, noting:

    Well, in this story, Peter Parker falls victim to his own pride. He starts to believe all the press clippings about himself, that he’s really this hero and someone great. He starts to be afraid that he isn’t that person and doesn’t want to act any other way than the person that’s right. That pride manifests itself in a much darker way.

     He also explained why he wasn't so big on bringing Venom into the fold:

    Working on those sequences with Tobey Maguire and the dark Spider-Man, that was a difficult thing for me actually. It wasn’t fun for me because I didn’t like those sequences. I didn’t like watching Spider-Man go bad. It was unpleasant and I kept worrying, "Gee, do I really have to do this to show how rageful and vengeful he is? Do we really have to show how pride can destroy you?" 

    But, my brother kept telling me, "Yes, because he’s going to find himself again."

  • Raimi Wanted 'Spider-Man 3' To Be Split Into Two Films So He Could Explore Venom's Character

    Director Raimi wanted to make two separate films so he could do Venom - and emo Parker - justice. The idea to split Spider-Man 3 into two movies was ultimately nixed. Fan emails had Raimi really conflicted as to how to approach this revered character:

    So the very nature of that story demands that you either do it two part, if you want to spend more time with Venom, which I didn’t think was fair to the audience, to the fans of Spiderman... I kept reading the fans’ emails that Avi [the producer] would send me saying they’d better not just introduce him to tease us, that would be - I felt that the fans didn’t want that from the thousands of emails that were sent me... So, I said okay, but obviously, through the very nature of it, he’s only going to be in half an act or one act. I’ll just make it as thorough and the best that I can, deliver Venom in the most complete way that I understand the fans might want him. 

  • Tobey Maguire Had Fun Filming The Infamous Dance Sequence

    Tobey Maguire spoke with Collider writer Steve Weintraub during the Spider-Man 3 press tour in April 2007. Weintraub touched on the fact that Maguire got to wear a black suit for once (as opposed to the traditional red) and mentioned the dancing-down-the-sidewalk scene. Maguire explained that both the new suit and the dance helped broaden his character:

    It was fun. We had fun doing that. It was interesting and fun and I thought really helped define where he was at.

  • Raimi Didn't Have Faith In Emo Parker

    Ultimately, Raimi knew that he had no choice but to include Venom, and so he did everything in his power to combine his and his brother's existing script with an additional villain narrative. Looking back, Raimi admitted on The Nerdist podcast that he didn't have much faith in emo Parker as they were filming:

    It’s a movie that just didn’t work very well... I tried to make it work, but I didn’t really believe in all the characters, so that can’t be hidden from people who loved Spider-Man. If the director doesn’t love something, it’s wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it.

  • Kirsten Dunst Had To Look Away When Maguire Would Do The Awkward Hip Thrusts

    There were not one, but TWO cringe-inducing emo Peter Parker dance scenes in the Raimi's third Spider-Man film. One takes place during one of MJ's first singing gigs at a jazz club. Symbiote Peter Parker is feeling it and decides to break out the dance moves once again. Apparently, Maguire's ability to cut a rug was too much for co-star Kirsten Dunst to handle, and she had to turn away. She explained her feelings during a 2007 interview with SuperHero Hype!:

    It was so funny and I had to have a reaction of Peter, what’s wrong with you, but I couldn’t even do it, because when I’d see Tobey, I’d laugh when he was dancing. It’s so ridiculous. And I had to be in a shocked, what’s-happened-to-Peter mode. Meanwhile, he’s doing all these pelvic twists and thrusts. I couldn’t watch him do it anymore.

  • The Dance Sequence Down The Street Was Only Partially Choreographed

    To the surprise of no one, only part of Parker's sidewalk sashay was choreographed. Maguire spoke with Blackfilm during the film's 2007 press tour and revealed that some of that incredible meme fodder came straight from him:

    I worked with some people, a choreographer and some other people, a couple of dance people and the inside part was pretty much all choreographed and then the outside, the basic idea of it was choreographed, and then we kind of riffed on that and had fun from there. 

    Maguire expanded on the improvisation process, which involved director Raimi:

    Basically the general idea of it was choreographed and then, you know, we riffed from there, and Sam would say throw this out, do this, and then I would throw in some thoughts and ideas and you know, just kind of messed around with it.