Watch Tobey Maguire Do an R-Rated Screen Test for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man

Here at IGN we occasionally like to showcase something from geekdom’s rich history — a pop-culture Time Capsule, if you will, that gives us a peek in to the past, perhaps providing a new appreciation for previous projects.

If you’d like, please check out the past few Time Capsules:

Before he melted hearts while kissing Kirsten Dunst in the rain, lifted spirits while battling Doc Ock on a train, and ruined childhoods while finger gunning and acting vain, Tobey Maguire had to screen test for the Peter Parker role. It was a part that required him to get super buff. A great power that required great Maguire-ability.

With Sony now officially announcing the name of their new Spider-Man Marvel Movie Universe – featuring the Tom Holland/MCU-related films as well as titles such as Venom and Morbius — it’s an opportune time and look back at the Tobey tests for Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film. The following reel shows MacGuire, Dunst, Willem Dafoe (acting completely normal), the Uncle Ben who could barely change a light bulb, the Aunt May who screamed Biblical verses at Green Goblin, and the real hero of this trilogy, J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson. He’s who Chad Kroeger and the one dude from Saliva who always ate the last garlic knot was singing about. To be fair, Sony’s Spidey slate for the past two decades should be called the Simmons-verse.

Funny thing though: The opening test scene here seems like a run-of-the-mill New York City mugging. A woman walking alone past crates and boxes that are selling for 500k on Zillow. An abundance of kissing noises one uses to call legions of rat minions to your side. The flash of a blade and a “Hey, didn’t I see you on the giant posters for Manhattan Memories but also at the diner pouring my decaf?”

But then Tobey turns up. Not in his costume. Not swinging into action. But shirtless and jacked and looking like he just existed Enter the Dragon. The the F-bombs start flying like pumpkin bombs. More than one too, guaranteeing an “R” rating! The rest of it plays out like a bone-crunching kung-fu film. So stand back, because this Cider House RULES!

As you can see (biscuit), Tobey had time to turn those fools inside out and show up for the most awkward family portraits over. Man, Uncle Ben didn’t even like baseball. He just wore that Yankees cap to try and bond with Peter, who just scowled, ate an entire jar of peanut butter with his finger, and painted Warhammer miniatures until dawn.

Then there’s Willem Dafoe making sweet sweet Undertaker eyes at the camera. It was right after Raimi told him that the entire screen test had to be taken back to formula. By the way, a billionaire with his eyes rilled back deep into his head is the Osborn Family crest. It’s been seen for centuries proudly retreating from some of history’s greatest battles.

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at

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