When Jon Watts got the directing job on Spider-Man: Homecoming, he was a bit of a surprise choice, having little experience in bigger budget films. Had you told anyone in Hollywood a few years ago that James Gunn, Taika Waititi, and Watts would be the captains of Marvel’s 2017 ship, they’d have never believed it. But thus far it seems that these lesser known directors (including the Russo Brothers) have all been home runs. Still, fans probably don’t know Watts well. Variety sat down with the director and learned some good bits of information about the man behind the camera:
First of all, Watts personally identifies with Peter Parker. He doesn’t have super powers (that we know of) but he does feel the pressure of proving himself in the world of Marvel Studios.
Peter Parker, especially in this movie, is a kid who has been picked by Tony Stark to be a part of this massive adventure in “Captain America: Civil War” and is really trying to prove himself. He’s never done anything this big before and really doesn’t want to screw up or let anybody down. That’s exactly how I feel about making this movie. I have no problem trying to relate to Peter Parker, because that’s what I feel like at every moment in this process.
Later he mentions that star Tom Holland is in a similar social position.
I know that Tom feels like he’s Peter Parker too, just like I do. This is a huge role for him and he’s trying his best…
These honest admissions of pressure and insecurity are refreshing and say a lot about why the tone of this film feels genuine in the trailers. Watts clearly has an earnestness about how he’s approaching things and that rubs off on all he’s doing. That vibe is the perfect vibe for a Spider-Man film. It all points to a film that is going to be honest to the character, the director, and the star.
Just as much attention came to the audition process for Scott Derrickson on Doctor Strange, Watts gives some detail in the interview for how he came to land the Spider-Man directing job. It is much more about process than about a single moment of brilliance.
It was a very long process. Someone at Marvel had seen “Cop Car.” It started as a general meeting and in the meeting they started talking about Spider-Man and the idea of it being a younger-centered Spider-Man movie. I had been wanting to make a coming-of-age, high school movie. I had been watching a bunch of those movies, so I just happened to be really, really prepared to talk about high school coming-of-age movies. I just kept coming back to meeting after meeting, and every time I came back there’d be more people in the room and more people in the room.
Finally, fans are already curious if the creative team will continue on to the sequel, which has already been announced for a 2019 release. Watts was playing that one close to the vest, though he seems interested.
All I’m doing is focusing on finishing this movie. We’re deep, deep, deep in [post-production], so you just want to make this one good. Focus on one at a time is my attitude.
There is a ton of good stuff in the Variety piece, so you should definitely read it in it’s entirety. In particular, Watts discusses Michael Keaton’s approach to Vulture, which sheds even more light on his portrayal in the trailers so far.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is shaping up to be a film that could actually meet its considerable hype, and hits theaters on July 6.