Spider Man: Homecoming: Scribes Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley’s New Take

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a big project, bringing together tow studios, and attempting to correct the problems of  2014’s Amazing Spider-Man 2. 

Even more importantly, the goal was to launch the first Spider-Man movie as integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

But screenwriters Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, largely know for comedies such as Horrible Bosses and 2015’s Vacation, had only three days to put together a pitch for Marvel.

“There was no time to be nervous really. We had such a ticking clock in getting this thing made and also in pitching it,” Daley tells Heat Vision.

Their take on Peter Parker involved  humor and heart, and de-emphasized some of the more melodramatic elements of previous incarnations.

End result, Spider-Man: Homecoming is getting an enthusiastic response, even by Marvel standards. Goldstein and Daley earned screen story credits, and sharing screenplay credits with director Jon Watts, Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna.

In a conversation with Heat Vision, the pair discuss creating more believable high school characters for 2017, why secret identities can be kind of cheesy and how Michael Keaton’s The Vulture joined the fray in the Marvel and Sony film.

What in your pitch landed you the job?

Jonathan Goldstein: I think it was the combination of the humor of it, along with the relatability, that we told a high school story that happened to have superpowers. That’s something everybody can relate to. Just because you get superpowers, doesn’t mean you become an adult or sophisticated or can get the girl.

John Francis Daley: In many ways, it veers you into a more irresponsible and immature direction.

How did The Vulture come into play?

Daly: What we liked about The Vulture is that he is very relatable, he doesn’t have powers himself. He is a regular Joe who feels cheated by the system, and the fact that people out there who are reaping the rewards of superherodom.

Goldstein: We also wanted to keep it grounded in more down-to-Earth villains, no puns intended. Not world domination, just kind of like “make some money.”

Seeding of a potential sequel in your original script?

Daley: The sequel is so determined by the powers that be, that anything we planted may change.

Goldstein: There are Easter eggs and references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Daley: We made sure to set up some characters that will want to be revisited in the next movie.

Peter’s best friend, Ned, is a breakout character?

Daley: We needed him to be a relatable geeky dude who is friends with Peter, and I think they nailed it with the casting.

More diverse and more accurate depiction of high school

Daley: It’s a magnet school, so they are all pretty smart. Even the antagonists in the story, which is nice, because then you aren’t dealing with your typical dumb jock bully, which you’ve seen a million times before. The goal was to flip some of the conventions on their head and make these kids smarter, wittier and more in tune with the real world than the prior characters have been.

John Hughes Impact

Goldstein: We go back to John Hughes as the touchstone for the high school movie. If you look at The Breakfast Club, he took a lot of types and put them in the room and realized there are layers to them and there are reasons for the way they are. There’s much more than their clothes and typical treatment in these movies.

The Villain

Daley. The love interest has depth and the geeky best friend has depth. The bully, Flash Thompson(played by Tony Revolori) is likeable and not just physically intimidating. What always bummed me out was, who cares if the bully is physically intimidating? You know Peter Parker could rip his limbs off. It’s false stakes in a way. Why not just have an antagonistic rich kid? One who lords his wealth over Peter? Someone who has more confidence than Peter?

Jonathan Goldstein (left) and John Francis Daley
Jonathan Goldstein (left) and John Francis Daley

Trailers reveal that Ned learns Peter’s secret identity?

Daley: We mentioned that with Marvel and we thought it would be so cool to have a sounding board for Peter. Somebody who is the devil on his shoulder.

Goldstein: That’s the kind of friendship model we wanted to play into. One thing that was different from Spider-Man or Peter Parker from most of the MCU was the secret identity. Marvel made a decision early on that we’re not going to have secret identities, it’s kind of cheesy. Clark Kent with the glasses. Why don’t they see that’s Superman? So we all kind of made the decision, let’s do away with it.

Daley: There was sort of an archetype of Superbad that I think we used a little bit. You have these two kids that don’t have a lot of confidence, but they are such best friends and you can feel love coming between them, it’s just a nice model to play with.

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