During our Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse interview with Directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, we were given a glimpse into the filmmaking process. It was a nice way to round out the interviews we had earlier with the actors and producers.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Directors — Animation Style
The major draw of the movie is the unique look of the animation. It took a long time for the crew to find a visual style for the movie that they were happy with.
Bob Persichetti: A lot of experimentation, successes and failures. When we released the first teaser, and Miles pulled off his mask, the paint was still wet. It was the best we could do by that time and we’ve done better since then. It was still evolving even when we released the first teaser.
Peter Ramsey: It took a year and a half to make the first few seconds and then another year and a half to make the rest of the movie (117 minutes).
Rodney Rothman: We did the teaser and it was like, “Okay, do that 89 more times.” We kind of had a visual target in our minds and we knew we wanted to draw along the lines of the comic books. But technically, to be able to do it, Sony ImageWorks had to change everything about the way that they usually made animated movies.
Animation allowed the directors the opportunity to create a version of New York that hadn’t been seen yet and to emphasize the personality of each of the boroughs.
Bob Persichetti: Miles is very much inspired by his neighborhood and his neighborhood is inspired by him. It’s a very reciprocal relationship. Queens is a borough from Peter Parker, that’s the history. Manhattan, for us, became this impenetrable wall for Miles to get over when he finally swings the skyscrapers.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Directors — The Story of Miles Morales
The story of Miles Morales as Spider-Man had a special appeal, especially for kids today, that the directors wanted to share with audiences.
Rodney Rothman: He’s a very different character from Peter Parker. He’s very specific. As far as superheroes are concerned, he’s African-American/Latino, living with his parents in wood and glass neighborhood in Brooklyn. He’s a very ordinary, relatable kid.
The story of Spider-Man still works when you plug him into it. It was a way to show how strong the initial idea of Spider-Man is. That you can really put anybody behind the mask and tell the story of that person in as much detail and as specifically as possible and you still end up with a great, classic Spider-Man story that anyone can relate to.
The story of Miles and his family — Miles and his father and his uncle and that whole triangle. That whole idea of which way do I go in life, who do I listen to. He grows and learns that you listen to everybody and you take the good from everybody in your life. And you use that to become who you’re supposed to be.
While Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a “coming of age” story, that experience is very different for kids growing up now versus several decades ago.
Bob Persichetti: It’s a giant, big metaphor for coming of age and trying to turn it into a coming of age that takes place in 2018. It’s a very different thing than when Peter Parker initially was bitten by a spider and had his experience. Kids have it hard. There are huge expectations placed on them today in school. My little kids are doing two hours of homework and they’re not even out of fourth grade. Life is more challenging for young kids today.
While Miles is bitten by that spider, he already has all these expectations of his parents, who are in a loving way trying to make him successful. And he has to clear all that away and find his own path to being successful and he uses all these people to do that. I think that’s really what we were trying to do, to make a simple coming of age story about a kid in Brooklyn.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Directors — Audience Takeaways
So what do the directors of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse want audiences to take away from the film?
Peter Ramsey: There was a mission statement from the very early part of the movie essentially boils down to the sentence, “You are capable and we’re counting on you.” That was on the first page of the script. That was the core of the movie — a sense of optimism, letting anyone who saw the movie know that they could be capable of doing the things that they were watching in the movie and that we are counting on them in the future… We wanted people to leave the movie feeling uplifted.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is out now!
I was invited on an all-expense paid media trip as a guest of Sony Pictures. All opinions are my own.