In honor of Maps and Legends, Michael Chabon’s first book of nonfiction, which features a pretty amazing three-tiered die-cut jacket by Jordan Crane, and is available now, here—in honor of all that, we present the following Maps and Legends bonus material: Chabon’s screenplay for Spider-Man 2. Chabon was the third of four screenwriters assigned to the project; he ultimately received shared “screen story” credit. As far as we know, this script hasn’t been seen anywhere else, and it won’t be seen here for long.
OVER CENTRAL PARK
Gorgeous fall day. Hot-chestnut weather. Spider-Man sails in off Central Park West on a line of silk. King of the Manhattan skyline. Swinging from a turret of the Dakota.
PETER (V.O.): Look at this guy.
Sailing over the Sheep Meadow, bouncing off the top of Reptile House. Sharp turn onto Fifth Avenue, hard around the Plaza Hotel.
PETER (V.O.) (cont’d): Look at him. Like he doesn’t have a care in the world.
is a torrent of taxis and humans and steam from the manholes. He skims along it like a dragonfly, heading downtown.
PETER (V.O.): You probably think it’d be cool to trade places with this guy. Styling costume. Awesome powers. Greatest damn city in the world.
AT 36TH STREET
he throws down a great big giant elastic band of webbing. Turns a couple of office towers into an enormous slingshot. Curls into a ball and hits the rubber band dead center.
PETER (V.O.): Is that what you’re thinking?
He gets just enough bounce to catapult him up over the top of the Empire State Building. Toe barely grazes the needle tip.
PETER (V.O.) (cont’d): Well, maybe you’d better think again.
He pinballs down Fifth Avenue and then out
OVER UNION SQUARE
heading for the Flatiron Building, with the big DAILY BUGLE sign. Circling in, alighting on its roof.
PETER (V.O.): Maybe you’d better wait until you see the kind of day this guy’s having.
J. JONAH JAMESON’S BIG UGLY MUG
So steamed the very air around his head shimmers.
JJJ: Parker, you’re fired!
INT. JJJ’S OFFICE—DAY
He tosses a stack of photos at PETER PARKER. They’re awfully nice photos. Maybe a little too nice.
JJJ: Dogs catching Frisbees in the park … Some fat old geezer playing chess … Autumn leaves.
PETER: I was thinking maybe the Bugle could show another side of New York for a change—
JJJ: Parker, if I believed for one second those pictures were an accurate reflection of this town, I’d hang myself from the top of the Chrysler Building. I don’t pay you to be a sensitive artist! I pay you because for some reason that psycho Spider-Man will pose for you.
PETER: Well, it’s like I told you, Mr. Jameson. Spider-Man won’t let me take any more pictures of him. He says you only use them to slander him. You’ve turned the whole city against him.
JJJ: A fact I’m very proud of! Having that lunatic around has weakened the moral fiber of New York! The police are demoralized! The citizens lazy! Now get your pretty little “portfolio” out of my face before I go into a diabetic coma!
PETER: Mr. Jameson, please. You can’t fire me. Even working two jobs, I can barely make tuition, and Aunt May’s Social Security doesn’t amount to …
JJJ mimes tying a noose around his neck, throws his head back, thrusts his tongue from his mouth. PETER folds.
PETER (cont’d): What if—all right, what if I did have a shot of Spider-Man?
PETER reaches into his knapsack and takes out a manila folder. Slides out a fantastic shot of Spider-Man saving a nun from an oncoming meat truck. JJJ eyes it hungrily.
JJJ: It stinks. I’ll give you three hundred.