How Thomas Haden Church Feels About Spider-Man 3 Looking Back
Sam Raimi’s third Spider-Man movie is not the most fondly remembered of the trilogy. Now, one of the film’s many villains has spoken about how he feels about the movie now, looking back. Thomas Hayden Church played the role of Flint Marko, who became The Sandman during the events of Spider-Man 3. While Church admits that the movie went through a lot of changes after he signed on, he doesn’t regret taking on the role. For him, working with all the people involved, and on an interesting character, was totally worth it. According to the actor…
I’m a big admirer of Sam Raimi’s, I love Tobey [Maguire] as an actor and it was right on the heels of getting so much attention for SIDEWAYS and then these people step up and offer me the villain in the next Spider-Man. And, I just liked everybody involved, I liked the script. Again, I didn’t know how it was going to change, but c’mon, I would’ve done the movie anyway. I liked the character a lot. I thought he was a challenge and it presented a whole other set of challenges, which is physically to transform myself to be Flint Marko, y’know, to be that guy, the way he was drawn and the way he was portrayed in the books. It was a big challenge and it went on for two years. They asked me to do it in January of 2005 and the movie didn’t come out until May of 2007, so it was a good two plus years of my own life.
To be fair, while there are many aspects of Spider-Man 3 that don’t work (Venom), few people would lay any of the blame at the feet of Thomas Hayden Church. As the actor tells JoBlo, the character of Flint Marko is an interesting one. He’s not purely a bad guy, he’s actually trying to do good, he’s simply willing to do bad things to achieve those ends. This sets The Sandman apart from the villains we tend to see in other comic book movies and it certainly makes him unique among the three villains of Spider-Man 3.
He’s also the most interesting to watch, as the digital effects that turned Thomas Hayden Church into a man made of sand still hold up pretty well. Church says he was interested in that side of the challenge that the role presented. Certainly, actors always want to be in good movies that tell good stories, but sometimes they also just want to play interesting roles, and it seems that Church was mostly interested in the conflicted character and the interesting technical aspects of the part. As far as that goes, his role was a success.
That’s not to say Thomas Hayden Church isn’t entirely clear on the fact that Spider-Man 3 had its issues. He’s well aware that the movie tried to do far too much and the effect the movie had on Sam Raimi‘s interest in continuing the franchise. Although, Church does seem to think that Raimi could be convinced to come back to the superhero genre again if somebody was interested.
Even Sam [Raimi] has gone on record as saying, ‘Hey we tried to shove ten pounds of story into a five-pound bag.’ Even he thought it was just too much. And, to some extent it led to Sam and Sony to part ways. Sam’s production company is still set up there and he’ll always have a home at Sony, but on that particular franchise they parted ways. I think that Sam could come back to it if he was really interested if it doesn’t so far past him, y’know. Sam is only like a year or two older than me. Sam’s got plenty of energy and creative fuel and if they ever invited Sam to come back and do another one, I think he’d consider it, I do.
The character of Spider-Man has, of course, moved on from the Toby Maguire version and is now played in the MCU by Tom Holland. Although, if Marvel wanted to really make waves they could bring in Sam Raimi to direct Holland. It’ll probably never happen, but maybe we’ll see Raimi come back some day to direct something else in a superhero universe. He made two great Spider-Man movies, and the third, while not perfect, certainly had its high points, like The Sandman.