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By Heather Wadowski | December 31, 2002

A Marvel Comic titled “Amazing Fantasy” (issue #15) published a story in 1962 in which a geeky science nerd named Peter Parker was bitten by a genetically altered spider and had his life changed forever. Now, forty years later, Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, Uncle Ben, the Green Goblin and the rest of the Spidey gang will finally make their long-awaited feature film debuts in Columbia Pictures’ Spider-Man, one of the most anticipated and heavily-hyped films of the year. But before audiences sit down to experience what has been dubbed as “the ultimate spin,” one has to give credit to one of the visionary masterminds behind Spider-Man, director Sam Raimi.

A fan of the Spider-Man comics since he was a child, Raimi was eager to bring Peter Parker’s story to life on the big-screen. He went to Columbia Pictures and, while pitching himself as the high profile project’s director, explained his love for the character. Although Raimi was more known for directing such recent films as The Gift, “For the Love of the Game” and A Simple Plan, the Michigan State graduate originally got his start in filmmaking alongside longtime friend Bruce Campbell, writing and directing the cult classic Evil Dead.

Raimi’s popular filmmaking style and offbeat sense of humor helped him evolve from campy, cult classics like “Army of Darkness” and “Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn” to mainstream and critically-acclaimed independent movies alongside some of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars. He executive produced the Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicles “Hard Target” and “Timecop,” wrote and directed the fantasy thriller “Darkman” with Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand, directed the Russell Crowe/Leonardo DiCaprio/Sharon Stone western “The Quick and the Dead” and even helped pen the Coen brothers’ “The Hudsucker Proxy.” Raimi’s work soon branched off into television as well, and before he knew it he was executive producing hit syndicated series like “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: Legendary Journeys.”

With such an extensive career — detailing everything from visual action-sequences to compelling, complex stories — Columbia knew that Raimi was just the man to bring Spider-Man to life. Nevertheless, Raimi admits that one of the biggest challenges he’s faced as a filmmaker was attempting to make Spider-Man fans feel that the 40-years it took for their beloved comic hero’s live-screen adaptation was worth the wait. Worried about everything from the casting process (and the controversial decision to cast Cider House Rules star Tobey Maguire as the superhero) to how to make the CGI sequences appear realistic, Raimi knew being a fan himself that expectations for the movie were high. Now, as Spider-Man is released nationwide, Raimi finally has the chance to sit down, relax and reflect on the making of the film before its back to the storyboards again for the inevitable “Spider-Man 2″…

Get the interview in part two of SPIDER-SAM: RAIMI BRINGS A COMIC BOOK LEGEND TO LIFE>>>

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