Longtime “Spider-Man” series producer Amy Pascal and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige have an offbeat filmmaking partnership, as they demonstrated in a new interview.
In a conversation with the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes about “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and the future of the franchise, the pair addressed Pascal’s previous comments that Tom Holland would star in another “Spider-Man” trilogy. (She also addressed the comments when speaking to Variety’s Marc Malkin on the red carpet on Monday.)
“We’re producers, so we always believe everything will work out,” Pascal said. “I love working with Kevin. We have a great partnership, along with Tom Rothman, who runs Sony and has been instrumental, a great leader with great ideas. I hope it lasts forever.”
“Amy and I and Disney and Sony are talking about — yes, we’re actively beginning to develop where the story heads next, which I only say outright because I don’t want fans to go through any separation trauma like what happened after ‘Far From Home’ [the second film in Marvel’s ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy]. That will not be occurring this time,” Feige added, referring to the 2019 financing dispute between Disney and Sony that called the possibility of “No Way Home” into question.
Pascal and Feige also explained how they first began working together. Pascal was Sony’s top movie executive in 2014 when “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” debuted to widespread poor reviews. She went to Feige for advice on how to continue forward with the character. When he suggested that Marvel Studios make the next “Spider-Man” film, she didn’t take it well.
“I threw a sandwich at him,” she said.
“She said, ‘I really want you to help on this next movie. We have these great ideas for the next one. It’s amazing stuff,’” Feige recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m not good at that — giving advice and leaving. The only way I know how to help is if we just make the movie for you.’”
Despite Pascal’s initial disdain for the idea, she became open to it after Feige made more specific suggestions about how to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “[He] said, ‘I have an idea. What if Tony Stark makes Peter’s suit?’ And as soon as he said that, I understood the possibilities of what we could do together. To have Iron Man and Spidey in the same world, one rooted more in technological innovation — the new suit — and less in medical experimentation, which is where we were confined before, felt so much more modern.”
Since then, each of Marvel’s Holland-led “Spider-Man” films, which Pascal produces, have been critical and commercial successes. Part of the franchise’s prevalence in pop culture is driven by the secrecy Marvel Studios has become notorious for. Plot and casting details are often kept completely concealed from audiences, and even key cast and crew members.
Pascal emphasized that her producing strategy is about more than celebrity cameos, so she isn’t concerned about outdoing “No Way Home’s” roster of guests when it comes to planning for potential “Spider-Man” sequels.
“You can’t think about topping yourself in terms of spectacle. Otherwise movies just get larger and larger for no reason, and it’s not a good result,” she said. “But we do want to always try and top ourselves in terms of quality and emotion. Kevin and I never want to lose sight of one thing: Peter Parker. That he’s a normal kid. That he is orphaned over and over again. That he’s a teenager, so everything in his life is at a heightened pitch and everything matters more than anything. That he’s fueled by goodness and guilt. That he’s striving for a greater cause, and he’s vilified by the press.”
On a lighter note, Feige commented on Holland’s budding romance with co-star Zendaya. They aren’t the first couple to take their “Spider-Man” romance off-screen: Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst dated while making the original “Spider-Man” movies, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone dated while making the “Amazing Spider-Man” movies.
“I took Tom and Zendaya aside, separately, when we first cast them and gave them a lecture,” Pascal said. “‘Don’t go there — just don’t. Try not to.’ I gave the same advice to Andrew and Emma. It can just complicate things, you know? And they all ignored me.”