A new report claims there were some serious behind-the-scenes troubles involving the production of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The sequel to 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has already crossed $500 million at the box office, with fans eagerly anticipating its follow-up, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. Much of Across the Spider-Verse's success can be attributed to its stellar art style, and the visual effects teams and artists that brought Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, and Spider-Man 2099 to life. But even with the film garnering rave reviews, there are rumblings of excessive edits that came from one of its producers.
Vulture spoke to numerous Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse crew members about the working conditions behind the scenes. They stated that producer Phil Lord requested constant edits throughout the production process, leading to artists having to work overtime and long days and nights to rush and get Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse finished before its release date. Much of the complaints came from Lord's alleged inability to fully conceptualize 3-D animation in the early stages, leading to finished artwork having to be redone from scratch. Those that spoke to Vulture also added that fellow producer Chris Miller was absent for much of the production.
Sony Executives Dispute Claims of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Production Troubles
Even with the claims of Phil Lord's management style delaying Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Sony Pictures states Lord isn't to blame for production notes. Sony Pictures Imageworks Executive Vice-President and General Manager Michelle Grady states Lord is only the messenger for editorial changes that come from himself and the various directors and executive producers of Across the Spider-Verse.
"It really does happen on every film," Grady said of revisions. "Truly, honestly, it can be a little bit frustrating, but we always try to explain that this is the process."
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Animators Speak on Concerns
Four crew members on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse spoke on the condition of anonymity to Vulture regarding the chaos that took place behind the scenes.
"It's common for executives on a production to have a big say, but usually, they're not as heavily involved as Phil was. As producer, Phil overrides all the directors," said one crew member. "They are obviously in charge of directing, but if Phil has a note that contradicts their note, his note takes precedence. They have to do what Phil says. So there were constant changes and cuts. With Phil Lord, nothing is ever final or approved. Nothing was really set in stone. Nothing was ever done. Everything was just endlessly moving beneath our feet because they wanted it to be the best that it could be."
Another stated, "Something like 90 percent of the shots in the trailer are not in the movie. We re-engineered or reanimated, had different characters doing the same thing. It was purely a sequence of cool ideas they made us slap together while they "rested" the production. We were 'idle'; that's what they called it. And that was probably the biggest de-motivator for a lot of people: some of them had been flown over to Vancouver, gotten an apartment to work on this movie and then sat on their hands for maybe three months. The worst thing you can do to an artist is hire them and then tell them to do nothing. These people were like, How do you expect us to make this huge movie in less and less time? Each week that went by idle meant that later on it was going to be more insane. An avalanche of work is waiting."