In the time between Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic, James Cameron developing a Spider man film. This is a known fact and Cameron called the project “the biggest film I’ve ever made.”
Early in the film’s development, Cameron was looking at setting the story around an older version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and was the first actor he considered for the role Michael Biehnwith whom he worked Terminator and Aliens. Biehn was 30 years old at the time and would have been the oldest actor cast in the role of Spider-Man.
It would be very interesting to see Biehn take on the role of Spider-Man! But, it was never meant to be. As Cameron continued to develop the film, he shifted the focus to a much younger 17-year-old version of the character, and at that point, the filmmaker wanted Leonardo DiCaprio in the role.
DiCaprio has said in the past that he and Cameron only had “a few conversations” about the film, and that the film never materialized. Speaking about the film previously Cameron said:
“I think it would be very different. I didn’t make a move without asking [Stan Lee] permission. The first thing you have to make up your mind about is that it’s not Spider-Man. He goes with Spider-Man, but he’s not Spider-Man. It’s Spider-Kid. He is Spider-High-School-Kid. It’s kind of geeky and nobody notices it and it’s not socially popular and all that.”
Cameron went on to explain that Spider-Man is a “great metaphor” and his superpowers represent “that reservoir of untapped potential that people don’t recognize within themselves. And it was also a metaphor in my mind for puberty and all the changes in your body, your anxiety about society, about society’s expectations, your relationships with your gender choice that you’re attracted to, all those things.”
Cameron also came up with the concept to change Spider-Man’s web shooters from a technology invented by Peter Parker to a biological power he gains after being trapped by the radioactive spider. He said: “It made sense to me to go with the biological web shooters as part of his biological adaptation to the radioactive spider bite.” That’s an idea Sam Raimi Download in movies spider-man. Cameron shared more of his vision of Spider-Man saying:
“I wanted to do something that had a kind of gritty reality. Superheroes in general came off as kind of fanciful to me, and I wanted to do something that would be more in the same Terminator and Aliens, that you buy into reality immediately. So you are in real life, you are not in some mythical Gotham City. Or Superman and the Daily Planet and everything like that, where it always felt very kind of metaphorical and fairytale. I wanted it to be: It’s New York. It is now. A man gets bitten by a spider. He turns into this kid with these powers and he has this fantasy of being Spider-Man, and he makes this suit and it’s terrible, and then he has to improve the suit, and his big problem is the devil suit. Things like that. I wanted to ground it in reality and fry it in the universal human experience. I think it would be a fun movie.”
Cameron was unsuccessful in making his Spider-Man film because the low-budget studio Cannon Films, which owned the rights to Cameron, went bankrupt before it could promote the film.
I would love to see Cameron’s Spider-Man movie! It would have been pretty wild, however, if it had happened and Biehn would have ended up as Spider-Man.