Spider-Verse Cast and Crew talk Peter & Miles’ relationship
On Friday at the San Diego International Comic Convention, Sony premiered the latest look at its ambitious, all-encompassing take on the Spider-Man mythos – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The computer animated film, from the minds of LEGO Movie helmers Chris Lord and Phil Miller, introduces several ideas never before seen in a Spider-Man film: Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales (Moore Moore) and an older more world weary Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) as they navigate a multiverse of Spider-people and Spider-Villains. Johnson, Moore and the films three directors came to SDCC to show off the footage and speak to ComingSoon about how the film was developing.
How’s it coming together?
Persichetti: It’s good, we are cracking now just seven days a week. Just trying to finish.
Ramsey: Don’t know what percentage it’s animated
Persichetti: I think we crossed the, whatever it was, 55% mark or something like that. We have a really big animation crew now because the animation is kind of so hard, takes so much time so that the amount of animation each individual animator produces is a lot less than usual now we have like a hundred and forty two animators right now which for one of these movies is a lot.
The overwhelming majority of people familiar with Spider-Man know him as a white Spider-Man, this makes the transition to an afro-Latino Spider-Man. How did you approach that?
Persichetti: We’re adapting Bendis’ story, so in that sense it was a great place to start. Miles is and amazing character, he has a lot of people around him that influence in his life and that was really was sort of the catalyst for the story we were telling. This is the first time we seen the Spider-Man in an origin story where we have both parents and I mean it’s like it’s the exact opposite of Peter in a way where we have too many mentors and we made that part of the process that Miles has to go through to become Spider-Man. He has to figure out how to how to take in all these voices and then find his own voice within that.
Moore: I feel blessed and fell chosen. There’s a lot of black people, a lot of latino people. I’m sitting in front of you so you know I took a private jet, two private jets in the last 6 months … I took two private jets in the last six months – It’s been life changing, is what I’m getting at. New experiences; I have a desire to inspire youth and others, to be a positive role-model. I think this is a good way to start. (Pointing at Johnson). His character definitely holds it down for the OG Spider-Man, don’t you think?
Johnson: I think it’s nice, I think it’s … to answer your question before, Moore answers all of our questions about bringing this to different cultures but even as a white guy like I’m really glad this movies happening. I was really glad Wonder Woman happened and we had a female superhero. I think all different types of people in power doing showing that to young people is great so I’m really excited we’re going to watch this movie I think it is a positive movie. I think for those original kind of OG Peter Parker Spider-Man fans, you’re going to get it. He’s here.
I really like Peter Parker so for me I really like reading these scenes and getting to go there he is but he’s 40 now and he’s tired now. But I also really like to act with Moore and see Miles and when we do it in the booth together so in the scenes I get to hear it and be like oh that’s a cool new take. And then Gwen comes out and there’s a female Spider-Man. So I’m excited for people to see this movie this movie and a whole new fanbase to check it out in this kind of new way and I think that’s really exciting.
Had either of you done animation or voice-over acting before?
Moore: This is my second technically but this is like my first real experience. The other one was a day and it was a few hours and it was a 30 minute whatever for whatever show for Christmas you know this is a movie.
Can you talk about the process – you said you were in the booth together sometimes which is not always the case on animated movies. Were you able to bring some of yourself into the characters and change them as you were performing?
Johnson: This has been unique. Mostly you’ll do for a movie at least that I’ve been a part, or a TV show, you’ll do a few different sessions and they get everything they need or you say a line 10 different ways. This we’ve been in the booth over and over; I think I put over 70 hours in a booth of just doing scenes. Every scene in this movie I feel like I’ve recorded 25-30 different times and then it times we get to do it together at times you’re alone and then they’ll make a slight tweak and you go at it again and you take another swing on it. I know Chris and Phil really likes to work in a way where they’re always opening things up and always wants to test things out and try new things so it has been a lot of collaboration. While they do have a really solid script so we have improvised but we’re not adding ourselves into it because they’ve really built this thing. But once you’re in a scene you know, if Moore and I are doing a scene together and it’s going and we’re making eye contact and we’re no longer reading the lines but we’ve done the scene a lot and we know how it ends, they do like when you’re in your present you’re acting so it feels a lot of an organic.
The animation style is slick and very different, can you talk a little about to how you came to it?
Persichetti: That was the goal. That was the drive. We’re going to make another Spider-Man movie, why? Because it’s Miles. Wonderful. We want to do animated but we don’t want the animation to feel like animation by Pixar or Disney or DreamWorks, all these places that we’ve all mostly been a part of. We don’t want that so I want something that that honors where Marvel and Spider-Man came from, your comic books, and we looked at that. We’re not going to have any rack focus on this movie we’re going to do this and it’s like this offset printing thing, we’re not going to have any kind of motion blur which for CG that’s like death. There is not a single motion blur in our movie and that alone is was like ‘I’m sorry?’ We spent more than a year really banging away trying to create a style of animation that felt looks different and it’s still all CG.
What are Peter and Miles’ dynamic like?
Johnson: Well I’ll say with Peter first I think Peter’s forgotten why he loves being Spider-Man and that he’s forgotten what a gift it is to have all this I think he’s at a point where he’s forgotten what he lost when he stopped being Spider-Man and seeing a young person first fall in love with the ability to be Spider-Man and how great it is to have this special gift. I think Miles for Peter is the spark plug that thing that remind you of how good you got it.
Moore: I would say Peter is .. I would say he’s like one of Miles’ best friends by the end of it you know. He has friends, but …
Johnson: (laughing) Probably the same with Peter!
Johnson: They are very odd that way.
Moore: At first I was going to say like a father figure, but no. Obviously you know people connect and become friends for a whole bunch of different reasons Spider-Man is a great way to become very close.
Were you familiar with Miles Morales before the movie?
Moore: Yes I was. I wrote that I am Miles Morales when I am Spider-Man in my journal 2 years ago when I was filming in the movie Dope and it came to pass.
Persichetti: Another thing that I think is pretty interesting is when Miles first came out in comics 2011 he was kind of the first of this wave of characters of different ethnicities taking on the identities of classic heroes and stuff like that and since then that idea has become pretty normalized. So coming out with the Miles Morales movie now I think part of the task was to say okay it’s not just that you’re plugging someone of a different background into the costume into the movie It’s how do you really flesh out what being a different background is. So there’s a lot of details of Miles’ is life, where he grows up, what his family life is like, what the school is like, what is the neighborhood like. One of the ideas is this is about New York and its different boroughs being like really specific characters. What is Brooklyn like now, what is Queen’s like now.
Moore: Personally you know I worked on the show called The Get Down and I was representing the Bronx. A New York accent is a New York accent so I wanted to (puts on accent) talk like I was from New York you dig (stops accent) you know I wanted to get into that with Miles but there were like ‘Nah, Moore we want everybody to understand this stuff.’ So I think it is a little bit more like if you’re from New York you’ll get it. In the trailer so it shows a moment where Miles is flipping off of the building and he’s like going head-first down he’s like “BROOKLYN!” Those moment’s people will get.
What are your relationships with Gwen like and how does she complicate things?
Johnson: I don’t think she complicated much with Peter I think Peter just sees her as Spider person.
Is he freaked out, seeing her thwipping around?
Johnson: I don’t know if we can …
Moore: That might not be okay.
Johnson: Oh by the way, you were pulling me in, like we’re just talking over cocktails here. Get out of here!
What will surprise us about Peter Parker?
Johnson: I don’t think it’s the Spider-Man you’re totally used to, I think it’s a more realistic Spider-Man. It’s what would Spider-Man would look like if he were real and he wasn’t doing his cool Spider-Man things which I think is really fun. I think it’s the dirty corners of Spider-Man that rarely get revealed in superhero movies. They pretend to like waking up late make you a regular person. That doesn’t make you a regular person, stop it (laughs). This shows Peter Parker as a real human being who happens to have this ability because he was bit by a spider but he is a real person so I think this movie actually shows that real person getting older and getting older on its own and mortality is real for everybody. He just happens to be Spider-Man.
What’s your favorite line from the movie?
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse debuts in theaters this December.