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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK
Spider-Man webs his way to première
Willem Dafoe plays the bad guy the Green Goblin
Willem Dafoe plays the bad guy the Green Goblin
Spider-Man, one of the most eagerly-awaited movies this year, has had its US première in Los Angeles.

The film's stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, with director Sam Raimi, were all at the celebrity opening at the Chinese Mann Theatre in Hollywood.

Maguire, who had previously starred in The Ice Storm and The Cider House Rules, is Peter Parker, who is transformed into a superhero after being bitten by a genetically-modified spider.

Tobey Maguire has starred in Ice Storm and Cider House Rules
Tobey Maguire has starred in Ice Storm and Cider House Rules
Raimi took the reigns as director because of his love of the comic as a youngster and Maguire said he was the perfect choice.

He said: "He is a huge Spider-Man fan himself and I thought he would handle the 40 years of history of this pop icon with great responsibility.

"I just wanted to make a great film. I just tried to do the best job I could."

His love interest in the movie is played by Dunst and his arch-enemy, the Green Goblin, is played Dafoe.

Dunst, who starred in Interview With A Vampire and Bring It On, said the film is a real departure for her.

A scene from the movie Spider-Man
Kirsten Dunst plays Spider-Man's love interest
She said: "I usually don't like these kinds of movies, but this one has a good heart and a good romance and a good superhero.

"He's, like, still charming and dorky, and he's not like a super-hunk."

The action adventure story, based on the classic Marvel comic character, has been in the pipeline for many years but seemed to be hit by every delay known to Hollywood, including a tangled legal web.

Producers were also forced back to the editing room following the 11 September attacks in the US because one crucial scene involved the Twin Towers in the action.

Trailers showing the clip had already been released and had to be withdrawn immediately.

Business problems

But the film was close to never being made because of an intense legal battle between rival studios and Marvel Comics.

A settlement was finally agreed that gave Marvel and Sony Entertainment joint rights to making the movie.

A scene from Spider-Man
Spider-Man allowed Maguire to fulfil his early ambition to be a stunt man
Several smaller studios had been eager to make a Spider-Man movie for years but business problems including bankruptcies of at least three firms linked to the character's rights, and competing claims in court, prevented it being made.

Titanic director James Cameron was just one director whose name was originally tagged on the project and he wrote an early script for the film.

Planning is already under way for Spider-Man 2, which could be released as soon as 2004.

Spider-Man opens in the US on 3 May and in the UK on 14 June.

See also:

03 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Spider-Man escapes lawyers web
31 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Spider spins web for Maguire
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