If you thought “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” drama would end after Julie Taymor reached a settlement with producers last month, you would be about as wrong as it was to open this unfinished, dangerous tourist trap of a play in the first place.
The show’s creator and ex-director (with her team of high-priced lawyers in tow) still plans to contest several key points that are keeping her from receiving additional royalties after she was painted as the show’s real-life villainous archrival and fired last March. And since this litigation has become a matter of public record, we finally get many of the juicy details that had been kept on a lockdown tighter than Spidey’s unitard.
In a 46-page “brief,” Taymor makes a case for the fact that lyricist/musicians Bono and the Edge, as well as book co-author Glen Berger, are equally if not more liable for the complete clusterf— that used to generously be called the musical’s plot.
The full copy includes tons of fascinating facts (for example, this gem was originally called “Spider-Man: A Musical Web”) and includes transcripts from personal e-mails between Taymor, Bono and Berger. Apparently this team got a little too caught up in their comic-book world; Bono and Berger even had “scores of secret e-mails, meetings and other communications” called “Plan X” that was supposed to help them take over Taymor’s story before she got axed. But despite the amplified melodrama, it’s just nice to know that on some level, millionaires’ catty work e-mails about their co-workers are just like ours!
We’ve pulled out some of the most juicy and ludicrous tidbits to guide you through all of this dense legalese. After all, we are among the very few brave enough to sit through Taymor’s original vision as well as the new “Spider-Man” that’s still on Broadway snaring unsuspecting victims at $100 or more per seat. And we did it all so you could get a comparison of the pre- and post-Taymor shows – and even a cheat sheet. It’s these sacrifices that Metro makes for you, our readers; you’re welcome!
The highlights of Taymor’s court-mitigated b— fit:
1. She admits “a reference to the ‘Arachne’ myth had appeared in a Marvel comic book and that Arachne was loosely based on a figure from Greek mythology.”
(The Arachne “origin to the origins story” is a substantial part of Taymor’s contribution to the musical’s first, failed storyline; most of this plot was retconned in the new version. She also quotes surveys where 80% of participants liked Arachne more than Mary Jane, and only 10% said Arachne was their least-favorite character. In article 22, Taymor also graciously allows that “Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created the fictional Spider-Man superhero character in the 1960s.” Good she’s not taking credit for that one!)
2. After agreeing to take part in the project “in or around 2004,” Taymor came up with a three-page overview of what the play would become (later copyrighted). And then “because of Taymor’s expertise and talent, she was hired to perform various creative roles on the Musical, including the roles of director, collaborator, co-bookwriter and mask designer.”
(In sum, collaborators and producers had no way of predicting how much Taymor would suck. Also: mask designer? We want this on our résumé.)
3. “The elements of the Musical praised in such reviews — which are elements Taymor was instrumental in creating — are the same elements that had been praised in February 2011, before Taymor was dismissed and the Musical was revised.”
(Who was praising this musical? We’re pretty sure critics were uncharacteristically reviewing the previews just because the show was that bad. It was like a mercy-kill move, but we suppose some things had to be less awful than other things?)
4. “Upon information and belief, the true reason Taymor was fired was because the producers believed that doing so, while blaming all of the Musical’s past problems on her, was the one action they could take to serve their own opportunistic goals.”
(Unlike Taymor’s selfless pursuit of back pay – in addition to the $9,750/week she now receives as pay. The epitome of rich people problems, right?)
5. “During this time, Taymor also requested that Berger deliver re-writes for the Book of the Musical to improve on the story’s pathos, clarity and humor.”
(Oh, just those little pesky things that had been previously overlooked by Taymor! No big deal.)
You also don’t want to miss the entire thread of 19 e-mails where Taymor tried to make Bono revise his lyrics in order to salvage the plot, but he showed up to rehearsal drunk and draped in supermodels. Yes, really. Read the full complaint.