'Spider-Man' Used A Real Spider, Who Had To Compete For The Part
The older Spider-Man moves used practical effects for some shots where they'd definitely use CGI today. We've told you before about how they use a dummy for Spider-Man in some scenes, which looks silly once you notice it but which gave Kirsten Dunst something solid and real to cling to. And we've told you a stuntman (or even Andrew Garfield) sometimes swung for real through New York.
And of course, there was the famous cafeteria scene, where Tobey Maguire caught a bunch of lunch items on a tray for real, though it took him 156 takes:
One scene that couldn't be done for real, of course: the big one where a spider crawls over Peter before biting him. You can't train a real spider to walk exactly where you want it, and besides, they wanted this spider multicolored like no real spider is. So the filmmakers tried to animate a spider to do the job. Only problem was, the result didn't look good.
So while they did use CGI for that one shot of the spider biting Peter, the spider that moves around? That's a real animal. It's a species called Steatoda grossa, and to get it, the propmaster reached out to entomologist Steven Kutcher. Kutcher has wrangled insects and spiders for dozens of movies, from locusts in an Exorcist sequel to giant worms in an especially scary episode of Family Matters.
To figure out which spider would work best, Kutcher selected a whole group of them and had them audition for Sam Raimi. Seriously: He had them all perform tricks (a "spider Olympics"), and Raimi picked one specimen with a big round body. It wasn't the right color, and Kutcher wanted to design a costume for it to wear, but in the end, they settled for blue and red body paint.
We don't really see Walt Disney trying something similar today. Today, they use CGI to touch up Tom Holland's suit even when he's standing still and talking to people, making even the most ordinary scene feel slightly fake.
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For those other special effects stories, check out:
6 Special Effects Flaws You Never Noticed (And Can't Unsee)
7 Amazing Movie Special Effects You Won't Believe Aren't CGI
5 Surprising Things You Learn Designing Movie Monsters
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Top image: Sony Pictures