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Sam Raimi talks about 'Spider-Man' DVD

Video of film out Friday

By Douglas Hyde
Special to CNN

Director Sam Raimi goes over a scene for "Spider-Man" with stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

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(CNN) -- Sam Raimi has had popular success with his "Evil Dead" movies, and critical success with such films as "A Simple Plan," but never had the two elements met so resoundingly for the director until this summer, when "Spider-Man" was released. The film, which stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, has grossed more than $400 million and a sequel is already in the works.

Daily News from Entertainment Weekly's Douglas Hyde chatted with Raimi about the DVD of the movie, which is out Friday.

CNN: Some directors -- like George Lucas and Cameron Crowe -- take a real hands-on approach to the DVD editions of their movies and put a lot of tender loving care into making sure there's lots of bonus features for the fans. How involved were you in the creation of the "Spider-Man" DVD?

RAIMI: I was very involved. ... Myself and my associate producer, Grant Curtis, supervised all the color transfers from the film negative to the digital format, and we had input on everything from the type style used in the menus to the special features included. So quite involved.

CNN: I think for most movie buffs, it's the extras on the DVDs that are the real selling point. What are some of the bonus features on the "Spider-Man" DVD?

RAIMI: Well, Columbia Tri-Star has really jam-packed the "Spider-Man" two-disc set with a lot of extra features. There's a rogues gallery, you know -- all the villains he's had to deal with through the 40 years of the comic books. There's also an interesting documentary included in the DVD set about Stan Lee and the creation of superheroes. There's a making-of video that was shown on Showtime, and I believe one that was made for HBO, and they're all incorporated into the two-disc set.

CNN: You provide director's commentary for this DVD, but a lot of your fellow directors aren't too keen on doing it. Steven Spielberg has never done it, George Lucas doesn't like to do it but says he does for it the fans, and when we asked Clint Eastwood why he didn't, he looked at us like we were crazy and said, "No, no, I wouldn't do that." Why do you think some directors aren't into director's commentary or talking about their work?

RAIMI: I don't know, but I'm not into them either. The only reason I've done these commentaries is because it seems to be so important to the people who release these pictures, so I allow myself to be talked into them.

But actually, every time I hear a director talk about a movie, it's not a good thing for me. I think that's because I imagine a scene to be great and I often think, 'I wonder what this shot means.' You know, I have my own interpretation of it, like a piece of poetry. Then I hear the director speak about it and suddenly it's only that and all the things that it could have been, my interpretation, what the audience's participation had to bring to it, dies. The moment the director speaks it dies. ... The director speaks intelligently, but it only meant that. So suddenly, not only are you wrong, but it's not as good as you could have imagined it could have been.

The romance between Spider-Man (aka Peter Parker) and Mary Jane was a key element of the film.

CNN: What does your own DVD collection look like?

RAIMI: Well, I don't have a lot of videos or DVDs in my home, but the ones I have are pictures that I greatly admire, probably like everybody. I have the Stanley Kubrick collection, some early [Federico] Fellini films have come out on DVD that I admire. I've got a [Ingmar] Bergman film, then I've got the "Superman" movies. I saw the first one again recently and that was great, directed by Dick Donner.

So I've got a lot of fun pictures and a lot of fake art, arty movies and really great American classics. I've got a lot of great Westerns with John Wayne that I haven't got a chance to watch.

CNN: A lot of critics and fans say that the best parts of the movie for them were the scenes when Peter Parker wasn't in costume, [such as] the scenes with Uncle Ben and Mary Jane. For the sequel, are you getting any pressure to do less human interest and more action? Is there a feeling that okay, now his origin is out of the way, let's have more fight scenes, more action, more Spider-Man, less Peter Parker?

RAIMI: I don't feel a particular amount of pressure to put more action into the sequel. I feel that people really invested in the character that Tobey Maguire created in Peter Parker and I think what they'd like to see is a continuation of that character's journey through his life. As the last picture ended, he decided that he was going to take the first step on the journey to becoming a responsible young man. And I think part two, "Spider-Man 2," will be the journey itself, the hard choices he faces as he tries to do the right thing, the sacrifices that he'll have to make, the heart break that he'll encounter and the triumph and the joy of being an American hero.

CNN: You've hinted before that we might see more than one villain in the sequel ...

RAIMI: Michael Chabon is writing the script right now. He's a great novelist and sometimes screenwriter and I know he's writing it with Doc Ock [Doctor Octopus][in it], but I have yet to read the script, so I'm as excited as some fans of the movie will be.

CNN: Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize, didn't he? What does that bring to the table?

RAIMI: Well, the Pulitzer doesn't bring anything particularly, but he's talented enough that he really has a great understanding of human beings and characters. He has a great ear for dialogue and some understanding of the human heart. Those are all the really great things we need to tell a story about Peter Parker.

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