Thomas Haden Church says one Spider-Man 3 stunt actually set the cinematographer ablaze

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Feb 15, 2018

It's a real shame that Thomas Haden Church had to make his foray into the superhero genre with a lackluster film like Spider-Man 3. All things considered, he was the best villain of the movie as Flink Marko, aka the Sandman.

His motivation to take care of his sick daughter is the most relatable arc in the movie while him being revealed as Uncle Ben's real killer adds depth and familiarity to a character we're being introduced to for the first time. Say what you will, but the argument could be made he's more compelling than Harry Osborne's Hobgoblin and the CG-fest that was Venom.

While chatting with Entertainment Weekly, Church confessed that one of his stunts, involving a “turboprop helicopter engine" set some of the crew members on fire, although he forgets how things went so wrong. Explaining the dangerous shoot, he said:

“The insurance company would only let me do one take … and I talked Sam into letting me do it twice,” the actor says. “In the midst of shooting the second take, the helicopter engine caught fire, and started raining fire down. … The DP — he had a coat on, and the camera operator had a jacket, and both their jackets caught fire.”

The director of photography to which the actor refers is none other than Bill Pope, cinematographer on major projects like all three Matrix movies, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Men in Black 3, and The Jungle Book. Luckily, the blaze wasn't big and no one suffered any lasting damage. 

If we had to get what scene would require the use of an actual helicopter action, we'd wager that it was the sequence where Flint wanders into an experimental particle accelerator, which turns him into the Sandman. Since the filmmakers couldn't place Church into an actual particle accelerator (for obvious reasons), they had to find a more practical way to whip up incredibly fast winds to make it seem like Marko's character was being buffeted by swirling sands.

We've placed the scene in question below to jog your memory:

 

Haden Church recently revealed that he has already shot a super secret superhero project, which has yet to be announced, but it's not one of Marvel's. 

So yeah, Sandman was the best part of a mostly messy movie called Spider-Man 3. That reminds us, can we forget that the following ever happened?