James Cameron has said that Spider-Man is the greatest movie he never made.
The Titanic filmmaker shared this during a recent roundtable discussion about his upcoming book Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, during which he talked about his version of Spider-Man.
According to ScreenCrush, the three-time Oscar-winner considers the movie “the greatest movie I never made.”
“The first thing you’ve got to get your mind around is, it’s not Spider-Man,” he said. “He goes by Spider-Man, but he’s not Spider-Man. He’s Spider-Kid. He’s Spider-High-School-Kid. He’s kind of geeky and nobody notices him and he’s socially unpopular and all that stuff.”
Cameron continued, “I wanted to make something that had a kind of gritty reality to it. Superheroes in general always came off as kind of fanciful to me, and I wanted to do something that would have been more in the vein of Terminator and Aliens, that you buy into the reality right away. … I wanted it to be: It’s New York. It’s now. A guy gets bitten by a spider. He turns into this kid with these powers and he has this fantasy of being Spider-Man, and he makes this suit and it’s terrible, and then he has to improve the suit, and his big problem is the damn suit. Things like that. I wanted to ground it in reality and ground it in universal human experience.”
Sadly, he wasn’t able to secure the rights. He attempted to save his Spider-Man by going to 20thCentury Fox and telling them to pick it up, but they didn’t want to get into a fight with Sony, which had a “very questionable” grip on the material.
“I tried to get Fox to buy it, but apparently the rights were a little bit clouded and Sony had some very questionable attachment to the rights and Fox wouldn’t go to bat for it,” Cameron explained. “Peter Chernin [chairman/CEO of the Fox Group] just wouldn’t go to bat for it. He didn’t want to get into a legal fight over it. And I’m like ‘Are you kidding? This thing could be worth, I don’t know, a billion dollars!’” The Avatar director pointed out that about “$10 billion later,” his thinking has been proven right.