Thomas Haden Church did not shoot a scene for this sequel. Yet it appears on screen, created 100% digitally.
Whereas No Way Home returns to the headlines, 9 months after its release and its success in the cinema, thanks to a long version offered in dark rooms by Sony, a look back at an increasingly common phenomenon in Hollywood: bringing back/reviving a film character without having to call on its original interpreter. This is what happened to L’Homme-Sable on this blockbuster. Here are the details, revealed by Kelly Port, in charge of supervising the visual effects of Spider-Man: No Way Homein an interview with Before and Afters last January. She detailed how the various teams dealing with the VFX had been able to recreate The Sandman without ever recalling Thomas Haden Church, who played him in Sam Raimi’s third film, in 2007. The actor was therefore not present on the set, while he is clearly visible on the screen.
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Kelly Port explains that three different companies were involved in recreating Flint Marko/Sandman: Digital Domain (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Luma (Avengers, Loki…) and Imagework (already on previous Spiderman by Jon Watts). “There are two versions of the charactershe explains. One that’s more humanoid and talks then when he’s in the Sanctum (from Doctor Strange, editor’s note). Digital Domain took care of much of this work. Luma did the so-called “corridor” scene, where The Sandman is introduced, as well as when Electro arrives and they have a short fight before they all meet and are sent into the Sanctum. . In these scenes, the electricity plays a big role, it looks really good in a good cinema. For the big ending battle, Imageworks created this bigger Sandman. There were a lot of things to manage in this sequence. (…) I also remember that when we started talking about bringing Sandman back, there were strong reactions from people who had worked on his previous version. They were all traumatized! So I knew what to expect, that it would be quite a challenge technically and creatively, to get him back and have him look cool, behave a certain way. I think we succeeded in that, in the end. He’s cool.” When the journalist asks her if they worked with Thomas Haden Church, she replies: “We had access to his voice. We didn’t get to use a lot of visuals of him, but we had access to his voice and scans of his face, previous textures, things like that.” Concretely, this means that they did not need to call on the actor.
If Jamie Foxx and Willem Dafoe have taken over the costumes of their respective villains, Electro and the Green Goblin, this is not the case for Thomas Haden Church, nor Rhys Ifans, who played the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). Note that Kelly Port analyzes other visual effects of No Way Home during this interview, as the “mirrorverse” (when New York City turns on itself), or even the digital rejuvenation of Doc Ock (Alfred Molina).
The three Spider-Man reenact the essential meme for the DVD release of No Way Hom
If you want to know more about the manufacture of Spider-Man: No Way Home, its blu-ray edition is filled with bonus features. Otherwise, its long version is currently visible in the cinema and its short (which is still 2h28 (!) is available on Premiere Max.
Here is its trailer:
Willem Dafoe agreed to return to Spider-Man on one condition