On June 19, ComicBook.com attended a press event for Spider-Man: Far From Home in London. The film was weeks ahead of its release but had screened for select members of the press the night before. Among the filmmakers involved in a full day of press was producer Amy Pascal, who sat down with ComicBook.com for an exclusive, in-depth interview exploring the latest entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Of course, Pascal also has her hands in a number of projects at Sony Pictures. On the heels of Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Pascal is keeping busy with sequels and spinoffs. She is also following an extensive resume including titles like the original Spider-Man trilogy through her 30 year journey at Sony. During the interview, Pascal opened up about bringing Jake Gyllenhaal into a Marvel film, the major twists of Spider-Man: Far From Home, and plans for future films.
Warning: Spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home follow in the full, uncut interview with Amy Pascal below!
For ComicBook.com's full interview with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, click here!
ComicBook.com: These movies have to be exciting, but these weeks leading up to a big release must be so nerve wracking.
Amy Pascal: Oh, my God. You have no idea. You would think, that by this time you would be used to it, right? It's like public speaking. You think, "Oh, my God. I've done it so much. I couldn't possibly be nervous again." And every time you are. You think, "I have done preview screenings. I have waited for media. I have done it more times than I want to, more times than you were born." And yet, it's always the same process. It's always a nail biter.
CB: Well, it's a hit. So you can breathe easy now, because it was so good.
AP: That's so great.
CB: First of all, one thing that these Spider-Man movies are doing, after there were already a couple of Spider-Man franchises before, is remixing characters people are familiar with. S,o why do you think it's important to make sure that we're seeing new takes, even if the character is a familiar name, just a different face?
AP: Give me an example of what you're talking about.
CB: I mean, we don't have Mary Jane but we have a love interest named MJ, who is also a independent, and totally bad-sss on her own. And we have Flash Thompson, who we've seen, Ned Leeds, characters like that.
AP: Well, I think that they're the great thing about what Stan and Steve did, is that they are characters that can be reinterpreted. It's 1962, it's a long time for something to remain fresh, and yet it's been able to. I think that's because just like all of the artist who did all of the various spectacular, amazing, ultimate, everything have been able to reinterpret these kind of classical characters. We're able to do that, too.
CB: You just rattled off a bunch of really popular titles. How many comics have you had to read to make sure that you are up on all of this?
AP: Oh, you think I was born a comic book nerd? I was not. Avi Arad, when he first brought Spider-Man to Sony, which was in the late '90s, I'm like, I like that Peter Parker character, because I could relate to Peter Parker. I understood him. He's just a normal kid with the same problem, money problems, love problems, family problems, the same stuff that everybody has. I could completely relate to him. So, yes.
Then I had to go to school. Then I had to go to school. I cannot tell you that I grew up reading every comic book, because I was more Archie, right? But now, over the last 20-something years, I now know myself.
CB: I love that. Speaking of Avi Arad, though, really quickly. I've interviewed him before and he told me that he once had an idea of something like this Marvel Cinematic Universe we see now. Did he ever toss that around with you back when he was making those?
AP: Oh, I think, Avi is where everything comes from.
CB: Oh, he is, yeah. He is pretty good at what he does, that's for sure.
AP: He is pretty good at what he does. I have had a great time working with him on all these movies, and had a great time working with him on Spider-Verse.
CB: Oh, yeah. Well, I do have a question about Spider-Verse, but I'll save those for the end. I wanted to stick to Far From Home for now because the movie was so good.
You guys haven't recycled any Spider-Man villains yet. We haven't seen any that we've seen before. Does that make you nervous, when you're using more obscure villains?
AP: No. There is like, 800 characters. There is how many iterations of these comics have there been? Sometimes you have to dig a little bit to find something that's resonant because we have to find characters. All the villains in these movies always have to be a reflection of what Peter is going through. So, we have to first figure out what story do we want to tell about Peter, and then we decide which villain and what interpretation of that villain is going to make sense for where Peter is at at this point in his life.
CB: So, taking that, I was wondering, can you offer me some of your perspective on how you guys landed on Mysterio?
AP: Well, you can't give anything away.
CB: No spoilers. Great villain.
AP: There's no spoilers. In our movie, he comes from another universe. So, it's a different version of Mysterio than most people who read the comic books no. However, his reputation in the world is that you can't always believe everything he says, and I think that we live in a time where that might be resonant.
CB: Well, well done. Well done. Good choice. I think one of the biggest challenges you guys had to have had, and I don't know, I'm sure there were plenty, but one had to be collaborating with Endgame and figuring out how to make this film stand on it's on in the wake of Endgame. Did it make it more difficult this time versus coming off of Civil War with Homecoming?
AP: It wasn't more difficult, it's the same challenge. The movie has to stand on it's own. It has to work whether there is a movie before it or after it. People have to like it just for what it is. Then, in this movie where they were finishing off their saga, the third iteration, and this was the next one, so in a way, we had a lot of freedom because it was going to be the next wave.
We had to be careful. We had to be really careful.
CB: Well, you couldn't really drop the real trailer with full details until what? Two months ago?
AP: Yeah, yeah. We had to be careful about that, because we couldn't give anything about that movie, of course, and we didn't want to. Because we are partners to the end in that stuff. But, we felt like we were going to be okay.
CB: You're right, I think this movie is going to make a few dollars. But, when Spider-Man is in New York City swinging on buildings, that, to me -- That is Spider-Man.
AP: Didn't he just get so happy? That is Spider-Man. That is what the great thing is, because at the end of this movie, there is Spider-Man.
That was the design. That, finally, at the end when you see him. Because we had rules about never having him swing in New York, from Homecoming in the beginning, when Kevin and I first started talking about doing this together. Finally, we felt we've earned the right to see him swing around New York City. And boy, doesn't that look awesome?
The first time we made the first movie, and I remember the end of it, when he's swinging around and the American flag at the end, and all that, and it's so exhilarating. I felt like that when I watched this film.
CB: So, the majority of the movie, though, takes place in Europe and he is trying not to be Spider-Man. Which is all right, because as we said, he's Spider-Man in New York and he's trying not to be Spider-Man--
AP: Oh, Peter's always in denial about something.
CB: Sure. He's inevitably has to be Spider-Man. Where did the idea come from to take him out and put him elsewhere and make him find himself elsewhere, and make him find himself there?
AP: Well, there was a couple of things. First of all, when we were on the tour last time, we were all going around Europe selling the movie, we thought, "Wow, this was be really fun to put him here." Plus, you're always looking for a place to make Peter uncomfortable, and looking for a way to put him in a new situation. We did Queens, and we ventured out a little bit on the last movie into Washington, but this seemed like the right thing. It seemed like a funny idea to put these kids in that situation.
CB: Oh, it worked.
And now, I do want to talk some spoilers, so anything we say here will publish after the movie comes out.
CB: If you're listening, ComicBook Nation, we are talking spoilers for Far From Home, so you've been warned. You should have seen the movie by now because it's Monday. At the end of the film, the post-credit scenes just blew me away. So before I talk about the big return of a cast member, I do want to just talk about how Spider-Man is found out and everybody now knows his identity.
AP: That's right.
CB: That just catapults him into a new story.
AP: Yeah. We knew that one of the main ideas before we started was that we were making a big deal of that. Because that's what the movie is about, because if you are going to be true to who you are, then you have to be who you are.
CB: Can you say anything about what that might mean for the next movie?
AP: No. No, but what I can say is that people now know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
CB: That's big.
AP: That is something that we've never done before.
CB: And what an epic reveal that was.
AP: Wasn't it great? Well, how about the person who revealed that? That was really fun.
CB: Yes. Let me go right there. Who talked to JK Simmons? What was his reaction when you guys said, "We want to bring you back as J. Jonah Jameson.
AP: "F--- yes." That was his reaction.
CB: Just immediately?
AP: Yeah. Right, "I'm in." He was so excited.
CB: How long ago did that come up? When did that start to brew?
AP: Well, we always knew we were going to do that from the beginning.
AP: But we never even put it in the script because we never said it was him that was on the newscast. But we always knew.
CB: So does Tom Holland know that it's J.K. Simmons? Because I feel like he would probably be the one to be sitting out there today spoiling it.
AP: Oh, no. Everybody making the movie knew.
CB: I also love the moment where they're swinging in New York and Peter takes a selfie.
AP: Isn't that great?
CB: The Spider-Man game was such a huge hit. That is such a key element of that game, that people had a lot of fun with.
AP: Yeah, all these worlds are connected.
CB: Is that an intentional?
AP: All these worlds are connected.
CB: Going back to J. Jonah Jameson, that is a new, fresh version of the character, correct?
CB: It's the same actor, but a brand new character.
AP: It's 100% in the world that we live in now. A brand new version of J. Jonah, just like all of the characters in the new version. But, yes, it was wonderful to bring him back, because there is nobody else that could do that.
CB: At the end of the movie, Mysterio appears to be dead. I kind of think he is but I have to ask, I mean, you shouldn't believe what you see with that guy. Is there any chance?
AP: You don't know.
CB: Then we had the Skrulls in the second post-credit scene.
AP: How about that? Isn't that great?
CB: These are two of the most important post-credits I think Marvel has ever put in any of there movies.
AP: I think they're pretty awesome. Well, the whole movie is about, don't believe what you see.
CB: That's true, wow. I didn't even think of that until you said it. That's true, it was there in front of my face the whole time.
AP: It's all of the pieces.
CB: I do want to ask, have you guys talked about a third Spider-Man, of the Homecoming, Far From Home brand?
AP: Oh, sure.
CB: Spider-Man: Home Run.
AP: Yeah. Spider-Man: Home Run, Spider-Man: Homeless. We're trying to think of the next title with "home" in it.
CB: Do you know, is there any timeline for when people can expect such news?
AP: You know, I don't think that we're ready to tell anybody yet. But, yes, of course, there are so many stories that you can tell about Peter Parker and Spider-Man. I think the Multiverse and the Spider-Verse has opened up unlimited possibilities for us.
CB: Spider-Verse, that's another one I'm wondering. That world has to be expanding.
AP: Yes. We are hard at work on the next one.
CB: I don't know, how much do you read on the internet, with all these rumors that are coming out? How familiar are you with all of that?
AP: Me and the internet don't get along that well, to be honest with you. I don't know, people make up stuff and then they decide to believe it.
CB: I ran through a few rumors with Kevin Feige and he shot a few down. Others, he said, "We don't want to talk about it." I wonder if I can run a few by you?
AP: You can ask me, I probably won't answer either.
CB: One rumor that popped up was, Sony wants to see Venom pop up in Spider-Man three, with Tom Hardy. I think that would be super cool. I think Tom Hardy's Venom was--
AP: Tom Hardy's Venom was absolutely, bar none, unbelievable. He is so good. Nobody else could be that character.
CB: Do you think that that could happen?
AP: You never know.
CB: But would that be a Multiverse thing, you think? Would that be he's in another world, or is he here all along? I have to ask these questions!
AP: Come on.
CB: I have to.
AP: Don't you want us to surprise you?
CB: What about a Venom sequel? Just an outright sequel to that movie?
AP: Yes, that is in the works.
CB: That's on the way? Okay, cool. Any time table?
AP: No time table.
CB: Since J. Jonah Jameson is back with J.K. Simmons in the part, could Tobey Maguire be out there in the Spider-Verse out there somewhere, as Peter Parker. I can't answer any of those questions.
AP: [No answer]
CB: Will any of this become clear at San Diego Comic Con? Are you guys going this year?
AP: I'm not sure we've made that decision yet.1comments