Inside Look at the Choreography of the “Spider-Man 3” Dance Sequence


Sony Pictures

For the time being Spiderman 3 begins, the tone is different from Sam Raimi’s two previous Spider-Man films. It’s clumsier and more restless. It begins with Mary Jane Watson walking down a flight of stairs onto a Broadway stage. And then, finally, the dancing begins.

Spiderman 3 is the black sheep of the Spider Man trilogy, not least because in the middle of it, Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, possessed by the alien symbiote known as Venom, goes gothic and makes a move. “Finally, we see the secret that lies in Spider-Man’s heart: it’s Peter Parker’s desire to dance like he’s in a revival of Cabaret“, writes Owen Gleiberman in the Weekly entertainment review at the time. Like rotten tomatoes alert his audience, “Get Ready: Spider-Man Dances!”

Fifteen years later, Spiderman 3The heritage of the dance has been passed down from generation to generation. Earlier this year, a child doing the “tyrant dance”, where Maguire pushes her hips, which has gone viral. And in an age of superhero oversaturation, the fact that Raimi interrupted battles to complete his hero Fred Astaire is less bizarre than charming. So how did this happen?

“Oh my god, there are so many crazy stories about this movie,” choreographer Marguerite Derricks tells me over the phone. When Derricks was called in to help Spiderman 3 get her groove on, she had already been responsible for several other cinematic dance moments ranging from the sexy gyratory of Showgirls like Austin Powers.

When Derricks got the call, her main responsibility was to work on the central duet between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), after Peter took her to a jazz club where his ex Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst). having failed at his Broadway gig. “The way it was originally written was that Tobey was going to be like a B-boy spinning on his head, doing more break-dancing stuff,” Derricks says. “And Tobey didn’t have it at all.” Maguire’s attitude, according to Derricks, was “I don’t even know why we have to dance”. (Maguire declined to comment for this story. Raimi could not be reached.)

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First, Derricks attempted to get doubles to replace Maguire, following the original break-dancing idea. But none of that worked. So she went to Maguire to train him. “I started giving him Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire moves, and Tobey lit up like it was his jam,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Okay, this guy didn’t want a dance double. He wanted to do everything himself.’ Spinning on his head – that wasn’t going to happen. It didn’t feel right to him and actually to me. It didn’t feel right to Spider-Man.

Derricks doesn’t recall receiving much direction from Raimi at first, but she felt like she had to earn his and Maguire’s trust. Once she did, she had carte blanche. The number begins with Peter showboating. He goes from the piano to jumping on tables, swinging on the chandelier and sliding on a chair. (The chair move was the only place Derricks thinks Maguire used a double.) It then turns into a tango between Peter and Gwen. “It kind of amused me because I was doing Spider-Man Fred Astaire moves,” Derricks said. “Ironically, it works so well together. I could see Fred Astaire doing those Spidey moves.” Derricks worked on the film for approximately six months; filming lasted about two weeks.

During the entire Bad Spidey sequence, Maguire’s look is transformed. His hair falls over his forehead and it almost looks like he’s wearing eyeliner. (For what it’s worth, Maguire’s makeup artist, Tina Earnshaw, doesn’t recall putting eyeliner on her. But it did make her skin look paler and her eyes sunken.) Hairstylist Johnny Villanueva didn’t was inspired by pop-punk and emo craziness that would have been styled around 2007. For him, it wasn’t Peter Parker via My Chemical Romance. “I just think I looked at him like his hair style was more fashion punk,” citing The Cure and Johnny Rotten as inspirations. “I always thought of Tobey in those scenes as an angry, dumb rock star,” Dunst said in a commentary track.

It certainly turns heads, which literally happens when Peter, enjoying his newfound mojo, struts down the street, reveling in his triumph over Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), shortly before taking out Gwen. He twirls and points to “People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul” by James Browns before walking into a store and swapping his jeans and sweatshirt for a suit. Then he launches into “Bully Maguire” with a series of pelvis shots.

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Derricks was not on set for the brief move, which took place before but was filmed after the club scene. Instead, his assistant was there. Naturally, he was inspired by John Travolta. “The vibe for me was that it was Fred Astaire meets John Travolta,” she says. “It was that swagger that Travolta had in Saturday night fever that I felt was so good for Tobey in that moment, just that whole street parade.”

Having worked on comedies like Austin Powers movies, never been kissedand charlie’s angels, Derricks is used to finding humor in motion, but she says Maguire didn’t work to be funny, and that’s what made her shine. “He was hitting those moves,” she says. “It was so cheeky it was hilarious. It was just that he was cool, but because he really stayed so committed, it made him really special.” At the time of release, Maguire said in an interview“It’s really like a thing where Peter thinks he’s super cool and suave, and really he’s a ball of corn. So we were making fun of it and having fun, and our goal was to make people laugh. . So I had that in mind while I was dancing.”

At this point, Derricks says, Maguire was an old pro. “She was a diva back then,” she says. And, apparently, he stuck to it. “Tobey continued for years after Spider-Man, taking private dance lessons from my assistants,” Derricks explains. “He fell in love with dancing.” It’s an ending just weird enough to work Spiderman 3.

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Esther Zuckerman is Senior Entertainment Writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.


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