There’s a great opportunity coming Spider-Man: There’s no way home will feature several versions of Spidey from previous iterations – but the original actor to play the web-slinger on TV won’t be among them. And he’s kind of frustrated about that.
Nicholas Hammond as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the 1970s TV show Ultimate Spiderman, based on the iconic Marvel Comics character. And while technically the first live-action US version of Spider-Man appeared in the Children’s Video Conferencing series Electric CompanyHammond’s Spidey was the first to have a plot.
Speaking from his home in Sydney, the famous stage and screen actor who recently played the memorable Sam Wanamaker in Once upon a time in Hollywood, making fans fall in love with not only his version of the character, but Spider-Man in general. And he confessed that it would be thrilling to play Peter Parker in a cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it doesn’t happen, at least not in There is no way home.
“I think it will be fun. Hammond said. “I really hoped I would be approached but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
Cast says he has enjoyed all the stars (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland) who played Spider-Man on the big screen, but he especially sees himself in one iteration.
“Tom Holland’s version is the closest to what we’re doing; Hammond says, try to make him a real guy, someone you can forget he has these powers and get caught up in Peter’s story. “That’s what we did.”
And that honesty is what convinced Hammond to take on the role, as he was seriously reticent after being scouted by the show’s producers.
“At first, I was reluctant because the only show ever on TV like that was Batman,‘ said the actor. “And I don’t care about that. It has its merits, but that’s not really for me, the ‘Pow,’ ‘Zoom’ stuff. And [the producers] said, ‘We want this guy to be a real guy. We want the viewer to participate in his life, his story. ‘ And I thought, ‘What a challenge. Play as a fanciful character and convince the viewer that he’s real, making them forget that what they’re looking at is basically a comic book character. ‘ That’s what I wanted to do, and they offered me the job.
Ultimate Spiderman ran only 13 episodes from September 1977 to July 1979 on CBS. The pilot debuted in the fall of 1977 and was the highest-rated TV pilot of the year, Hammond noted. However, the show received a slam after two seasons (including a two-stage shoot in Hong Kong) for a variety of reasons.
“They began to chop and change [the schedule] around and the audience couldn’t follow us,” he said. “I think they did a very poor job of marketing the show, and it’s a shame because I think we could run it for a few more years.” The show was also quite expensive to make, he noted.
“We have to run two crews all the time,” says Hammond. “There was Crew A with me, and Crew B, who were stuntmen for the fighting and wall climbing scenes. They’re not going to do that with their own camera crew while we’re doing all the Peter Parker stuff. The stunts are very expensive. Everything is true. All climbs are real climbs. All things on the terrace are on real rooftops. And it’s all done with cables and harnesses. “
But when the stunts aren’t involved, it’s Hammond in the suit, which he says is true. “I always wore the suit if there was an interaction scene with other actors,” he recounted. “I don’t think it’s fair for other actors to work with people who don’t have actors.”
And while not outright uncomfortable, the problematic suit needs to be ironed flat. “We went through a lot of different eyepieces because they would either be foggy or they would reflect the camera lens,” he explains. “It’s a little scary because suddenly you can’t see anything because it’s completely blurry.” After a few episodes, the production team found a suitable material.
And yes, Hammond is friends with the late Bill Bixby, aka Dr. David Bruce Banner on The Incredible Hulk, was also running on CBS at the time. “WI was talking about passing the TV series, creating two aspects of Spider-Man and Hulk joining forces,” Hammond said. “But it never gets past the stage where the two actors talk to each other at the end of the day over a beer.”
Marvel’s godfather Stan Lee made it clear in subsequent interviews that while he was pleased with the Hulk Drama, I don’t care how Spiderman turned out. Hammond has a pretty good idea why.
“I think what disappointed Stan was that our choice – to be honest, I felt it was the right choice – was all rooted in practice,” Hammond said. “Meaning, we don’t have fictional comic book villains. We have people, we have drug dealers, blackmailers, criminals. So, in a way, we turned it into a criminal program where there are problems with pollution and nuclear waste. I think he wants the comic book villains that Spider-Man fights. We think it’s better to let this guy with his powers try to stop the people who are doing serious harm to the planet and people. So we parted there. “
Although he may not be in the MCU, Hammond notes that Spiderman has led to a number of interesting projects, such as Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning work Once upon a time in Hollywood. It all started with a friend noticing that Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema was playing in 1977. Spiderman television pilot and sent a picture of the parade to Hammond.
“Quentin found the pilot’s 35mm print to be broadcast as a feature film around the world outside of the US,” explains Hammond. “He found a copy in the UK, fixed it up and cleaned it all up and he screened it as a feature. And I thought, ‘What a fun thing to do.’ So I asked my manager to pass the word on to everyone of Quentin that I’m grateful he showed it and would be happy to see him next time I’m in town.”
Tarantino received the polite text and sent it back: Come see me. “I didn’t know he was making a movie,” said the actor. “I went to him and he asked me, ‘Do you know anything about a man named Sam Wanamaker?’ And I said, ‘Certainly; actor and director. ‘ And he said, ‘Here’s a DVD of a pilot he filmed called lancer. Take it home and review it. ‘ And I thought, ‘OK.’ And then we talk about a million other things.”
After the meeting, Hammond phoned his manager in shock, explaining what had happened. “And my manager said, ‘I think you’ve just been offered the role of Sam Wanamaker.” And sure enough, two days later, we made the deal,’ said Hammond. that picture of Spiderman at New Bev, I wouldn’t be involved, and he might not have thought of me for the role. So I owe it all to Peter Parker.”
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