The Ninjabot

Sam Raimi discusses why he left the WORLD OF WARCRAFT film & SPIDER-MAN 4

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson


Spider-Man director Sam Raimi was once set to direct the adaptation of Blizzard’s MMORPG, World of Warcraft. There was much rejoicing in the World… of Warcraft as Raimi was viewed as the perfect storyteller to bring the game to the big screen. Unfortunately things fell apart and we never really knew what happened. Now that Duncan Jones (Source Code) is in the director’s chair, Raimi is opening up a little. He also revealed why he left Spider-Man 4, and what he thinks of Marvel’s golden 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??

With 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.”

And 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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