Sam Raimi Didn’t Want Stan Lee In His Spider-Man Movies
Since news of Stan Lee’s death arrived on Monday, rapturous tributes have been pouring in, but leave it to Sam Raimi to offer a more irreverent perspective. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the director of the original Spider-Man trilogy offered an amusing take on Lee’s cameos—and acting abilities. When Raimi was preparing to direct 2002’s Spider-Man, Marvel head Avi Arad demanded that he cast the comic book legend in the film, but he put up some resistance.
“I was like, ‘No, I know Stan, and he can’t act,’” Raimi explained. “And Avi was, ‘I want him in the movie. We did it for X-Men, we’re doing it here.” Now imagine you’re a minor director in England doing Macbeth and you’re told, ‘Put the writer in the play.’ It sounds absurd. ‘Fine, you want Shakespeare in the play, I’ll put Shakespeare in the play.’ Now it’s one of my favourite parts in the movie.”
Raimi was “an avid reader of Spider-Man and The Avengers in the late ’70s,” but it was Lee’s enthusiasm for his films that instigated their relationship. “After I did Darkman, Stan Lee called me and was like, ‘Hey, kid, I liked your movie.’ He took me out to lunch and said we should work together. I said I’d like to make a movie about Thor. We worked together writing treatments and took it to Fox and pitched it. And they said, ‘Absolutely no. Comic books don’t make good movies.’ This was in 1991. I got the job for Spider-Man in 1999.”
For a glimpse of Lee’s Spider-Man cameos, check out the video below.