When I was in Los Angeles last month to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, we were able to interview some of the cast and crew as well. The actors we spoke to include Shameik Moore (Miles Morales), Jake Johnson (older Peter Parker), and Luna Lauren Velez (Miles’ mom). See what they had to say in this Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse interview.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Interview — Shameik Moore & Jake Johnson
The first time Shameik Moore saw an animation of Miles Morales, it was like he was looking in a mirror.
Shameik Moore: I felt like they saw a picture of me and made an animation for how I was looking at the time… Later on, I wrote it in my journal, “I am Miles Morales. I am Spider-Man.” while I was filming the movie Dope. And these guys saw the movie Dope and wanted me to be Miles Morales.
Jake Johnson was also a perfect fit as the older, jaded Peter Parker.
Jake Johnson: Even though I’ve always loved the Peter Parker character, that guy never really resonated with me when I was younger. I feel like know that guy — the super smart, fast-talking, everything is working out guy. He was never my guy.
This version of Peter, where you have an ability and by doing that ability you lose other things, that humanity of Peter in that, “Sure, it’s great to be Spider-Man.” But what happens when you’re Spider-Man all the time, your home life is probably not awesome.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Interview — Luna Lauren Valez
Luna Lauren Velez plays Miles’ mom in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, who is also a Puerto Rican woman from Brooklyn. Though Luna shares so much with her character, she did say that the role was basically her mom and thus it was easy to act it out.
Luna Lauren Velez: It’s bananas, absolutely bananas. I grew up in Brooklyn and my dad is a cop. I didn’t realize there was such a lack of that kind of representation. As the journey progresses, it’s become increasingly amazing to me.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Interview — Producers
We also had the opportunity to chat with Producer Christina Steinberg. Her favorite scene is when the other Spiders are there to support Miles on his journey.
Christina Steinberg: They let him find it in his own way. You don’t have to do it like us. Find your own strength, find your own power, and that they’re all supporting him to uncover who he is as he grows into an older child and learns to make decisions for himself.
In the original Spider-Verse comic, there were A LOT of Spider-People. So how did filmmakers narrow it down to just five? We found out from Producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. It actually started with just wanting to tell Miles Morales’ story and how his family was “going to help him become his best self and how are they going to help him deal with this talent that was given to him at random.” Then they brought in Peter as an “unlikely mentor and see a version of Peter that we’ve never seen before.”
Phil Lord: So we got a little carried away from there. And we were like, well, Spider-Gwen is an amazing character and wouldn’t it be great to have Spider-Woman in the movie, so fresh and new and her comic is amazing. Since we’re here, we might as well tag a few extras. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a black and white character next to a cartoon pig.
Chris Miller: Which ones from the vast universe of comics would be the most different from each other visually, stylistically, and their point of view on the world. We could have the most diverse array of Spider-Beings then you could say something universal about what it means to be a hero and why the Spider-Man myth has transcended time. At one point in time, though, they had to pare it back. Ultimately it’s Miles’ story and there’s only so much room in the movie for all the other characters. And, when it gets too big, there’s not enough time to stay true to his coming of age arc.
Much attention was given to the cast and the wanted actors who would “embody the role and not be stock choice.” FYI, there are a few unnamed major celebrities that voice secret parts in the movie. The producers were THIS close to telling us a few but managed to keep their lips sealed about which mystery celebrities added their vocal chops to the film and for which parts.
And, as we’ve come to expect in any Marvel film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse includes a cameo of Stan Lee.
Phil Lord: Stan Lee doesn’t really “come in.” You go to him. Give him the microphone and, “Sorry, do you mind? We’ll just put this here with this little piece of paper and if you want to say it, go for it.”
Chris Miller: We knew from the beginning when we were making this that we wanted to give him a cameo that wasn’t just some random but something that was an emotional part of the movie and was advancing the plot in an important way. We’ve been watching this with audiences being finished. We watched months ago and it was a warm and funny scene but now it has taken on extra poignancy since then. We miss him.
Find out what the directors had to say about making the film in the next part of our Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse interview session!
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.