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''Spider-Man'' starts shooting Jan. 8 in L.A.

The director and cast share some advance details with EW.com

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Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man
Spiderman: Marvel Comics

It’s a happy day for the countless comic book fans who have been typing away in chat rooms for the last few months, speculating about director Sam Raimi’s upcoming ”Spider-Man.” Because shooting starts on Jan. 8 in L.A., Sony/ Columbia trotted out the cast and crew on Thursday, Jan. 4, to answer a few burning questions. Stars Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/ Spider Man), Willem Dafoe (Norman Osborn/ the Green Goblin), and Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson) talked about stunts, spider bites, and costumes. The rest will have to wait until the movie opens on May 3, 2002.

What’s the story?
The plot will closely follow the 1960s comic with only a few tweaks. Dweeby high school student Peter Parker will still be an orphan living with his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) and Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) when his life is changed after an unusual arachnid bite. However, Parker’s ability to shoot webs out of his wrists will be a genetic mutation instead of his own invention, as it was in Stan Lee’s original comic book. ”He doesn’t get the girls, he has acne, he’s an average looking kid,” says Raimi, whose new movie ”The Gift” opens Jan. 19. ”The idea that he can develop a substance that even 3M can’t make distances him from being that average high school kid.”

What will Spider Man’s costume look like?
Imagine Spidey through a lens, darkly. ”We’ve decided to get back to the look of the classical red and blue Spider Man, but we’ve updated it,” says Raimi, adding that the colors will be more subdued this time around. But even though Maguire has been bulking up for five months, don’t expect a pumped up superhero. ”What people love about the character is not that he’s got this Schwarzenegger look, but that he’s a graceful dancer,” says Raimi. And yes, Maguire, 25, will be a man in tights. ”I had to wear tights for the screen test,” he says. ”I felt okay in them, even before I started working out.”

What’s special about the action sequences?
Don’t expect any ”Matrix” style kung fu. ”Spider Man is so strong that if he hit regular people, he’d seriously injure them and he’s too responsible to do such a thing,” explains Maguire.

What about all those reports of script problems?
Raimi admits plenty of writers took a shot at Spidey (starting with ”Titanic” director James Cameron and later ”High Fidelity”’s Scott Rosenberg, ”Anywhere but Here”’s Alvin Sargent and ”Jurassic Park”’s David Koepp). ”But it’s not unlikely I’ll be calling any of them again with help on a problem,” says Raimi. ”Nobody’s ever off the picture. We need all their talents.”

Will Mary Jane, Peter’s girlfriend, still be a redhead?
”I’m gonna be a redhead, don’t worry,” says Dunst, 18, who will wear a wig to cover her naturally blond hair. ”I wouldn’t want to upset any ‘Spider-Man’ fans.” Well, who would?

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