How to do the spiderman dance

Inside Look Into ‘Spider-Man 3’ Dance Sequence Choreography

  • Entertainment
  • Movies

By Esther Zuckerman

Updated on 5/2/2022 at 10:22 AM

Sony Pictures

From the moment Spider-Man 3 starts, the tone feels different from Sam Raimi's previous two Spider-Man movies. It's goofier and choppier. It begins with Mary Jane Watson descending a staircase on a Broadway stage. And then, eventually, the dancing starts.

Spider-Man 3 is the black sheep of the Spider-Man trilogy, not least of which because in the middle of it, Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker, possessed by the alien symbiote known as Venom, goes goth and busts out a move. "At last, we see the secret that lies in Spider-Man’s heart: It’s Peter Parker’s desire to dance as if he were in a revival of Cabaret," Owen Gleiberman wrote in the Entertainment Weekly review at the time. As Rotten Tomatoes alerted its audience, "Prepare yourself: Spider-Man dances!"

Fifteen years later, Spider-Man 3's dance legacy has been passed down to generations. Earlier this year, a kid doing the "bully dance," wherein Maguire thrusts his hips, went viral. And in the era of superhero oversaturation, the fact that Raimi paused the battles for his hero to go full Fred Astaire is less bizarre than charming. So how did it come to be?

"Oh my god, there's so many crazy stories about this movie," choreographer Marguerite Derricks tells me over the phone. By the time Derricks was called to help Spider-Man 3 get its groove on, she had already been responsible for several other cinematic dance moments ranging from the sexy gyrating of Showgirls to Austin Powers' twist.

When Derricks got the call to come in, her main responsibility was working out the centerpiece duet between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), after Peter takes her to a jazz club where his ex Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) is working, having failed out of her Broadway gig. "The way it was written originally was Tobey was going to be like a B-boy spinning on his head, doing more break-dancing stuff," Derricks says. "And Tobey was not having it at all." Maguire's attitude, according to Derricks, was "I don't even know why we need to dance." (Maguire declined to comment for this story. Raimi could not be reached.)

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First, Derricks attempted to get doubles to stand in for Maguire, hewing to the original break-dancing idea. But none of that was working. So she went to Maguire's house to train him. "I started giving him Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire moves, and Tobey just lit up like that was his jam," she remembers. "I was like, 'Okay, this guy didn't want a dance double. He wanted to do it all himself.' Spinning on his head—that wasn't going to happen. It didn't feel right to him and actually for me, too. It didn't feel right for Spider-Man."

Derricks doesn't remember getting a lot of direction from Raimi at the outset, but felt like she had to earn his and Maguire's confidence. Once she did, she had free rein. The number starts out with Peter showboating. He goes from piano playing to jumping on tables to swinging on the chandelier to sliding on a chair. (The chair move was the one place Derricks thinks Maguire used a double.) It then morphs into a tango between Peter and Gwen. "It kind of made it fun for me because I was doing Spider-Man Fred Astaire moves," Derricks says. "Ironically, it works so well together. I could see Fred Astaire doing those Spidey moves." Derricks worked on the film for about six months; the shoot took approximately two weeks.

For the entire Bad Spidey sequence, Maguire's look is transformed. His hair swoops over his brow, and it almost looks like he is wearing eyeliner. (For what it's worth, Maguire's makeup artist, Tina Earnshaw, doesn't recall putting any eyeliner on him. But she did make his skin look paler and his eyes sunken.) Hairstylist Johnny Villanueva wasn't inspired by the pop-punk and emo crazes that would have been stylish circa 2007. For him, it wasn't Peter Parker by way of My Chemical Romance. "I just think I looked at it as more like his style of hair was more fashion punk," citing The Cure and Johnny Rotten as inspirations. "I always thought of Tobey in these scenes as an angry, dorky rock star," Dunst says in a commentary track.

It's certainly head-turning, which literally happens when Peter, enjoying his newfound mojo, struts down the street, reveling in his triumph over Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), shortly before taking Gwen out. He twirls and points his fingers to James Browns' "People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul" before hitting up a store and trading in his jeans and sweatshirt for a suit. Then he launches into "Bully Maguire" with a series of pelvic thrusts.

Derricks wasn't on set for that brief move-busting, which takes place before but was filmed after the club scene. Instead, her assistant was there. Naturally, it was inspired by John Travolta. "The whole vibe for me was he was Fred Astaire meets John Travolta," she says. "It was that swagger that Travolta had in Saturday Night Fever that I just felt was so right for Tobey in that moment, just that whole strut down the street."

Having worked on comedies like the Austin Powers movies, Never Been Kissed, and Charlie's Angels, Derricks is practiced at finding humor in movement, but she says Maguire wasn't working to be funny, and that's what made it shine. "He was hitting those moves," she says. "It was so cheeky that it was hilarious. That was just him being cool, but because he just really stayed so committed to it, it just made it really special." At the time of release, Maguire said in an interview, "It really is like a thing where Peter thinks that he's super cool and suave, and really he's a cornball. So we were making fun of that and having fun, and our aim was to have people laughing. So I had that in mind while I was dancing."

By that point, Derricks says, Maguire was an old pro. "He was a diva by then," she says. And, apparently, he stuck with it. "Tobey continued for years after Spider-Man, taking private dance classes with my assistants," Derricks says. "He fell in love with dance." It's an ending just weird enough to work for Spider-Man 3.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.

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The secret life of Willem Dafoe - trickster, yogi and naked dancer

Willem Dafoe is proud of his signature gap in his teeth

In addition to his talent, Dafoe also boasts a recognizable smile - with a noticeable gap between his front teeth. The actor is often asked in an interview why he never corrected his bite at the dentist in his entire life. But Willem is fine with it. So much so that he even starred in the short film "Gap", entirely devoted to this very space between his teeth. Moreover, the film was shot by Russian director Grigory Dobrygin.

Willem Dafoe in The Slit
Oscar-winning director Michael Cimino somehow kicked Dafoe off the set of

Willem Dafoe was supposed to play a small role in the epic drama Heaven's Gate. It was the inability to control laughter. During a pause on the set, when the actors had to stand still and wait for the lights to adjust, another cameo actress whispered a joke in his ear. Defoe laughed out loud - Cimino heard this and fired Willem. However, it is unlikely that the actor is very worried about this. Heaven's Gate was a colossal failure and ended the director's career.

Defoe played in the experimental theater - and naked

Before becoming a big star in Hollywood, the actor for many years was part of the theater troupe Wooster Group, which he himself founded in the 70s in New York. The team put on experimental plays on stage. In one Defoe, for example, played a live chicken heart. And in the other danced on stage completely naked. The video recording of the performance can still be found on the Web - and at the same time check the famous legend around the actor, which appeared with a light filing by Lars von Trier. The director of Antichrist once said in an interview that Defoe had a "too" big penis and because of this, he even had to be replaced with an understudy on the set.

Willem Dafoe on stage in Wisconsin in 1975
Dafoe is one of the most frequently dying actors on the screen

There are many jokes on the Internet about Sean Bean as an actor whose characters rarely live up to the end credits. But in general, Willem Dafoe dies at least as often as his colleague. Get ready for some minor spoilers: his characters don't survive in Platoon, Spider-Man, The Lighthouse, and even Fantastic Mr. Fox. This is partly due to the fact that Dafoe often plays villains. And they rarely have a happy ending in Hollywood.

Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh in a still from Van Gogh. On the threshold of eternity»
Dafoe was kicked out of high school for acting in an adult film

The actor admitted that he became interested in sex early on. Including because he had as many as five older sisters who told little Willem things that were not supposed to be known at his age. In high school, Dafoe even tried himself as an adult film actor. Because of this, he was expelled from the school. What the future Hollywood star was only happy about: Willem says that Wisconsin was a hole anyway, and he wanted to get out of there.

Willem Dafoe is the only actor in history to receive an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a vampire

A strange achievement nonetheless. Dafoe received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the film Shadow of the Vampire - where he played actor Max Schreck from Nosferatu, who, according to the plot of the film, turns out to be a real bloodsucker. No other artist has been honored by the academy for a similar image. Although Defoe has decent competition: Tilda Swinton from Only Lovers Left Alive, Tom Cruise with Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire, and the legendary Bela Lugosi from Dracula are here.31 years old.

Willem Dafoe as Max Shrek in a still from the movie "Shadow of the Vampire"
Willem Dafoe likes to do his own stunts

He may not be Tom Cruise, and he doesn't jump from airplanes in the frame, but still. Defoe has repeatedly said that it is important for him to feel a physical unity with the characters. And when you see the Green Goblin hovering on a glider in Spider-Man, it's not a stunt double or CGI (at least not always). The actor himself dressed in a suit and rushed into the action. Although, in general, no one obliged him.

In life, Willem Dafoe is not at all the same as his heroes

The actor is well aware of what kind of screen image he has developed over the years. He is often given the role of insane characters, like the Green Goblin, the caretaker from The Lighthouse, or even painfully unstable ones, like Van Gogh in On the Threshold of Eternity. But this is not the case when an actor is good in some role, because he "does not have to act."

On the contrary, Defoe believes that he is the exact opposite of his characters. A calm person who loves art and his wife, and in his spare time does yoga. Heroes on the verge of madness are a way to throw out the accumulated energy that does not find an outlet in ordinary life.

Willem Dafoe with wife Jada Colagrande

Dancing Spiderman on Screen Joke for Android

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Dancing Spiderman on Screen Joke - Software

#Spiderman Dancing on Screen
#Spider Man Dancing on Phone is an animation displayed on the Android screen that may suddenly appear.

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Spiderman dancing on your phone is easy to set up:
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