James Cameron Describes His Spider-Man Movie Concept as Gritty, Grounded in Reality

We've seen different iterations of Spider-Man across the big screen, but the world was deprived of witnessing's James Cameron's vision of Spider-Man. A new book from Cameron, titled Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, details how close the prolific filmmaker came to developing a film starring everyone's favorite wall-crawler. Cameron's Spider-Man would have had a "gritty reality to it," helping to ground the project in the real world. The Avatar creator also discussed the other differences between his Spider-Man and the ones guided by directors Sam Raimi, Marc Webb, and Jon Watts.

"I think it would've been very different," Cameron told Screen Crush. He added how Marvel legend Stan Lee gave his blessing and offered advice to Cameron. "I didn't make a move without asking him permission," he said before diving into his "gritty" Spider-Man concept.

"I wanted to make something that had a kind of gritty reality to it," Cameron said. "Superheroes in general always came off as kind of fanciful to me, and I wanted to do something that would have been more in the vein of Terminator and Aliens, that you buy into the reality right away. So you're in a real world, you're not in some mythical Gotham City. Or Superman and the Daily Planet and all that sort of thing, where it always felt very kind of metaphorical and fairytale-like. I wanted it to be: It's New York. It's now. A guy gets bitten by a spider. He turns into this kid with these powers and he has this fantasy of being Spider-Man, and he makes this suit and it's terrible, and then he has to improve the suit, and his big problem is the damn suit. Things like that. I wanted to ground it in reality and ground it in universal human experience. I think it would have been a fun film to make."

Due to timing and bad luck, Cameron never got to see his vision of Spider-Man realized. He spent the years between Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic trying to get the project developed. Marvel sold the Spider-Man rights to a studio called Cannon Films, which went out of business. Cameron then convinced the Terminator 2 studio Carolco to buy the rights, but they went under as well.

"All of a sudden it was a free ball," the filmmaker continued. "I tried to get Fox to buy it, but apparently the rights were a little bit clouded and Sony had some very questionable attachment to the rights and Fox wouldn't go to bat for it. [Former Fox President] Peter Chernin just wouldn't go to bat for it. He didn't want to get into a legal fight over. And I'm like 'Are you kidding? This thing could be worth, I don't know, a billion dollars!' $10 billion later..."

Cameron concluded that he did learn the valuable lesson of focusing on his own creations instead of chasing properties owned by other entities. "I made a decision after Titanic to just kind of move on and do my own things and not labor in the house of others' IP. So I think [Spider-Man not coming together] was probably the kick in the ass that I needed to just go make my own stuff," he concluded.

How do you think a Spider-Man movie helmed by James Cameron would have turned out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!