2018 was a year dominated by superhero movies, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse quickly became one of the highest-rated films in the genre’s history. For fans excited by the film, new tidbits are coming out all the time, and that includes a surprising fact about the original teaser.
If you loved the movie, you can now learn more about it with the new book Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse The Official Movie Special. This collector’s guide includes exclusive content which features “behind-the-scenes images, art, and much more." During an interview with one of the film’s three directors, Bob Persichetti, the creative discussed what it was like working with Jake Johnson, who voiced Peter B. Parker in the movie.
“Phil [Lord] had worked with him a little before, so in the first draft of the script, the voice being written for Peter was clearly Jake’s. He was the first person to commit to the project,” Persichetti says in the book.
Lord, the film’s writer/producer, had previously worked with Johnson on The LEGO Movie. Lord directed the film, and Johnson voiced Barry. They also worked together on 21 Jump Street, which Lord also directed with Johnson playing Principal Dadier.
“Jake’s a great performer and a great comedian. He knows how to work out every ounce of charm and comedy from a line and he can improvise too. He really brought that skill to our recording sessions,” Persichetti explains. “That’s how we work as directors: we ask a lot of the actors as we’re recording the dialogue. Jake’s voice is gravelly and has a Bob Dylan-esque quality to his voice. We did a test for Jake’s voice with our Peter Parker animation and put him and Miles together in a scene.”
As it turns out, that early moment became extremely important in the film’s process and ultimately led to the prodcuer's ease about the movie's most important dynamic.
“Interestingly enough, that test became part of our first teaser,” Persichetti adds. “It was really what sold our bigger producers and Sony on the generational gap between Miles and Peter and the way they interact.”
The director went on to describe the special relationship between Peter and Miles, which is part of what gives the movie so much heart. “They can both jab at each other and are smart enough to stand up to each other’s quips, but they have enough charm and warmth in their voices to make it feel like a great relationship,” he notes.
Persichetti, who made his directorial debut with Spider-Verse, co-directed the movie alongside Peter Ramsey (director of Rise of the Guardians) and Rodney Rothman (director of the upcoming 21 Jump Street spinoff). Persichetti co-wrote The Little Prince back in 2015 and has worked in the animation department on films dating back to Hercules in 1997. Other notable works include Mulan, Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Shrek 2.
The director also talked about getting to know Johnson and his career, which wasn’t quite what Persichetti expected.
“It’s funny because I knew him from the TV show New Girl, but I didn’t realize he has such a giant fan base. We were at Comic Con and fans were yelling for him and snapping photos with him,” he admits.
In addition to the popular sitcom, Johnson is known for Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed, Tag, and The Mummy (2017).
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows multiple versions of the friendly neighborhood hero and stars Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Liev Schreiber, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Lily Tomlin, Kathryn Hahn, Brian Tyree Henry, and Luna Lauren Velez.
You can catch the movie in theaters now!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse The Official Movie Special is currently available to buy on Amazon!