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SPIDER-MAN

More Acrobat Than Muscle Bound Hero
Tobey Maguire spent several months preparing for the physical demands of the Spider-Man role via a variety of strength and agility regimens.

"I worked on my flexibility, largely with yoga, and I trained with a gymnastics instructor on agility and air sense," says Maguire. "I spent a lot of time on the trampoline, doing flips, and practicing kicks and punches, as well as lifting weights." Maguire also did stamina training via running, biking and core training to prepare for the role.

"Tobey was great to work with," notes Stunt Coordinator Jeff Habberstad. "We started working with him several months before the start of production, and the first thing I did with him was take him 40 feet up into the rafters on stage, and I asked him to trust me. Then I asked him to jump off of a condor, and I would catch him just above the ground—he did it a couple of times, then he said, ‘I'll do it as high as you want me to.' He was just fearless."

Willem Dafoe also trained extensively for his role as the Green Goblin. The longtime yoga practitioner spent hours with Stunt Coordinator Jeff Habberstad and glider technicians, rehearsing on the Goblin glider, a winged metallic transport complete with major munitions, on which the Goblin swoops down upon his human prey.

The Glider, the Goblin's preferred mode of transportation, houses an impressive arsenal of machine guns, pumpkin bombs and mini-sidewinder missiles. It is also equipped with tridents that detach from the Glider for combat in close quarters.

"The trick is to look graceful… and not to fall off the thing! It was a little scary because my feet were clamped into these braces attached to the glider. It was all about balance," says Dafoe.

Dafoe became so adept at balancing atop the always moving craft as it swooped, dipped and soared, controlled by a computerized remote hydraulic system, that he sometimes outshone some of the stuntmen.

"Willem is just unbelievable to work with," recalls Jeff Habberstad. "He gets on the glider and he puts a character into it that's just really unique, and amazing to watch."

The filmmakers were acutely aware of the importance of the costume design in presenting the beloved characters of Spider-Man to movie audiences, and director Sam Raimi was thrilled that three-time Academy Award-winning Costume Designer James Acheson joined the Spider-Man team:

"We were very fortunate to get Jim to do the costume design," says Raimi. "I did not want to reinvent the Spider-Man costume, but rather to translate it—to bring the Spider-Man that kids and adults know—to the big screen. It was an incredible challenge on many levels, and Jim came up with a lot of great technologies, such as silk screening the musculature on the exterior of the costume to give Spider-Man the ability to move the way he had to, like a dancer in the skies, but also to give him an incredibly toned look without bulking him up with a muscle suit, which you might see on other superheroes."

"It was a real challenge to create the Spider-Man costume, to make it look alive and beautiful on film," says producer Laura Ziskin. "James Acheson is amazing, and he did an incredible job. There's a lot going on with that design and the way it catches the light in daylight or nighttime… it's very effective."

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