However, Webb incorporated elements of the "Ultimate Spider-Man
" universe (a comic book continuity set outside the main thrust of the story), saying that he loved the way the character was represented. "There's things like Spider-Man's physicality [that was taken for the movie]," Webb explained. "And the relationship with Oscorp and some of the parents' story was pulled from that universe." He rattled off more things he pulled from the series: "The relationship with women in his life. His attitude." But even though that was a huge influence (and he said he had multiple conversations with "Ultimate Spider-Man" writer Brian Michael Bendis
), the film is a synthesis of many strains of spider-DNA. "All that said, Gwen Stacey looked more towards the 'Amazing Spider-Man.'"
At one point "Amazing Spider-Man" was said to have been a more low-cost approach to the web-slinger. That, clearly, did not come to pass. "It was about twice the budget of '(500) Days of Summer,'" Webb joked. ("(500) Days of Summer's" production budget: $7.5 million. "Amazing Spider-Man?" An estimated $220 million.) Webb continued: "I don't know what the budget was but it was smaller than… some other movies… But it wasn't part of the equation. It was more the story and what you needed to do. Somebody else worries about the money."
Even though the movie was considerably huger, there were still things that he tried to retain – a playfulness with the actors, a sense of experimentation, gobs of improvisation – that are more closely linked to indie filmmaking than big budget franchise-starting. "That's something that very early on I was clear about – I feel like if we could carve out any identity for the film, it's about finding small, tiny details in relationships between people," Webb explained. "They can still pop but they have to be accessible. We actually did less improvisation in '(500) Days of Summer' than we did in this." The only way Webb accomplished this was by trusting the actors he hired. "When you're working with people like Andrew and Emma [Stone]
, I cast them knowing they could do that. Their behavior was more important than lines and they can add a whole new layer and dimension to it in a very real way. That's one of my favorite parts of the movie."
When we brought up the possibility that the film's use of 3D was a studio mandate because, quite frankly, we figured it was, Webb bristled. "Are you kidding me? Think about Spider-Man! If there's ever a movie that deserves to be shot in 3D, this is it!" Webb said that it was all his idea. "There's a perception of the way Hollywood works and it's very different than you imagine. There was never, ever a mandate that 'You have to make the movie in 3D,'" he explained. Webb then went on to give us his "pitch" for 3D. "It's the three V's of 3D – vertigo, velocity and volume. Those were the things that gave 3D a very specific identity," Webb said. He then elaborated. "When you're looking at ash floating through the air I found that stimulated a part of my brain, which is volume. There's velocity and creating a sense of speed, which I think you can heighten through 3D. And with vertigo, it’s the basic trickery of 3D. Those were things that it was all built into it."