They say it’s all about who you know in Hollywood, but Sam Raimi wasn’t prepared to give a role to just anybody for his Spider-Man trilogy in the 2000s. The director even orchestrated a rigorous audition process for the spiders that would be used in the iconic bite scene for the hit action movie.
Raimi, better known for his work on the horror movie franchise Evil Dead, blew the minds of comic book fans in 2002 when he brought Spider-Man to the big screen in epic fashion. His Spider-Man movies starred Tobey Maguire in the lead role as Peter Parker, with the likes of Willem Dafoe, James Franco, and Alfred Molina joining him as various Spider-Man villains.
In an archived article from National Geographic back in 2002, it was reported that of all the roles for the superhero flicks, one of the more strenuous casting processes centred around picking the perfect arachnid to inflict that life-changing bite on Peter Parker. For entomologist Steven Kutcher though, the answer was simple – spider Olympics!
Apparently, Robin Miller, the concept designer on the project, was given the task of creating a spider that didn’t exist and then finding a real spider to match up to the specifications set by Raimi.
To help him out, Miller contacted insect expert Steven Kutcher, who proceeded to stage what was referred to as a “spider Olympics” show for Raimi, so that he could select the exact attributes he wanted in his eight-legged star.
“He literally had the spiders doing tricks,” claimed Miller. Sounds like Kutcher had his creepy crawlies doing everything you’d want from a Spider-Man actor, including jumping, spinning webs very quickly, and swings out of the way of obstacles.
“[It’s all about] problem solving, and exploring, and teaching, and educating people about insects,” explained Kutcher. Funnily enough, Kutcher’s hat during the interview even said, “Bugs are my business,” so the Spider-Man team clearly got the right man for the job.