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Thomas Haden Church

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Thomas Haden Church

Thomas Haden Church

Thomas Haden Church portrayed Sandman in Spider-Man 3.

Significant roles

  • Nelson Hareem in Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert (1992)
  • Billy Clanton in Tombstone (1993)
  • Lowell Mather in Wings (1990-1995)
  • Lyle van der Groot in George of the Jungle (1997)
  • Ned Dorsey in Ned and Stacey (1995-1999)
  • The Strobe in The Specials (2000)
  • David Hardwick in The Badge (2002)
  • Lyle van der Groot in George of the Jungle 2 (2003)
  • Vince Grimaldi in Serial Killing 4 Dummys (2004)
  • Killer Moth in Teen Titans (2004)
  • Jack in Sideways (2004)
  • Dwayne in Over the Edge (2006)
  • Brooks the Crow in Charlotte's Web (2006)
  • Chuck Whetetrhold in Smart People (2008)
  • Don McKay in Don McKay (2009)
  • Johnny Whitefeather in Imagine That (2009)
  • Tazer in Aliens in the Attic(2009)
  • Hartman Hughes in All About Steve (2009)
  • Mr. Griffith in Easy A (2010)
  • Tal Hajus in John Carter of Mars (2011)

Quotes

  • "Villains with a conscience have this sad realization of who they are, and the monster they've become — there's a sense of regret. So at the end of these movies there's a dramatic resonance that really stays with the audience."
  • "The preproduction aspect of it was lengthy and all of the body scans and motion capture and all the various technological processes. I found it very interesting. I'm not a tech head, but the whole phenomena of what they do is cool and I got to be pretty close with [visual effects supervisor] Scott Stokdyk who I had actually met at The Academy Awards in 2005. Scott's a really sweet guy and he was so generous in sharing information and letting me know how they build the creatures, but a lot of it, like they like to say, is inspired by me because the three big sequences, the birth of Sandman – for my character, I don't want to seem self-aggrandizing – and then whenever he manifests himself out of the truck and then of course at the end of the movie. It was kind of this video-tracking, camera test process where many, many times they would have multiple camera sets and I would act it out because it's all so muted and bestial. It became, to some extent, the bane of my daily life when I was shooting because you would hear crackling over the walkie, "Sam wants to meet with Thomas at lunch to shoot some more video of the birth of Sandman." We really did a lot of it. There were very specific emotional beats that we wanted that they were going to layer upon. Particularly in the birth of the Sandman, without the advantage of eyes and real human facial expression you still wanted to convey the tragedy and not just leave it up to things like when he grabs the clasp and it breaks apart in his hand and then he kind of re-manifests himself. It could just be that. It had to be everything that was happening and how he would breathe as he's re-ionizing the evolution of the beast."
  • "The birth of Sandman was by far the most challenging dramatic thing that I did in the movie because we did it so much and it's setup by the terror of being ripped apart. It also happens to involve by far the most dangerous stunts in the movie which I did myself. The insurance company would only allow me to do them one time and we literally rehearsed it for six hours before we shot it. It was when the de-ionizer or however you want to describe it – I always called it a kind of molecular accelerator. I decided to have my own scientific terminology. But that thing was built off of this Bell helicopter turbo engine and when it got up to full rev, the guys were like, "Look, if you get hit it's like getting hit by a car at eighty miles an hour." So that's why we rehearsed it as long as we did. I was on a tether, but the way that Sam wanted to do it, and you've seen it, is that where the camera was and you see the light bars going by and I had to run straight at those light bars and then get yanked back. Like I said, the insurance company – believe me there was a phalanx of representatives there that day – would only allow me to do it one time. I wanted to do it again, but it's the one that's in the movie. The intensity and quite frankly the fear is really there. You're right though, because it was so muted and because you don't have any vocalization of the character you kind of just have to rely on how your body conveys the tragedy and your face to some extent, but not really in the birth of the character, and then the same thing when I come out of the trick. There is this ferocity that I'm really glad we were able to capture in melding the CG with how I acted it out in the video tracking. I thought it came through very well. I wanted to have that mix of anger and innocence. I'm just trying to get away from them and then whenever I come up they start shooting me and then I kind of get upset."
  • "Flint Marko and Sandman are absolutely, intrinsically woven together really just the core of who Flint Marko is. When we first started this process, they asked me to do this movie in January '05 and we immediately started having story conferences. I live in Texas full time and so a lot of it was on the phone, but any time that I came to L.A. for prep stuff, Sam [Raimi] and I would together and Alvin [Sargent] and Ivan [Raimi], Laura [Ziskin], we'd all get together and talk about the character and it was always about Flint Marko. It was about the man because it was very important to myself and to Sam that we know who the man was and what his propulsion through the movie was sustained by. Sandman, like Frankenstein, is just the darker monstrosity and malevolence that he can't control, not unlike the black suit that Spider-Man can't control and ultimately Venom, Eddie Brock, can't control. So, while Venom and Sandman don't have a direct connection they're mutually exclusive. They kind of suffer from the same problem as does Spider-Man with the black suit. "
  • "We re-shot the end of the movie. Tobey [Maguire] and I, we shot four versions of it and to some extent it was about what was happening between Flint and Peter, but it was also about how does he leave the movie in a satisfying way and ultimately the most satisfying way was the most mysterious way. He just disintegrates and goes away, and maybe it's sacrificial and he's returning to the earth. Maybe he's only going to be with his daughter and will not continue in his criminal activities. It's open to interpretation and that's what we wanted. Whatever life experience that people come into the movie with is largely going to determine how they think about Sandman's exit from the movie."
  • "I think that Topher's character is ultimately a very tragic character because when he hurls himself back just before the explosion I loved the way that he did that. It just gave me goose bumps. Topher just manages to capture in that one kind of flash of performance that this guy has nothing else. He's only existed in the movie by superficiality and duplicity and then of course embraces the black suit and turns into Venom, but whenever he's torn apart that's all he has. He has no other choice, but to really commit himself suicidally because he just has nothing else. He has no other path. I find that to be resolute in it's tragedy with it's character. I think that my character certainly starts off in a place emotionally which addresses the worst fear of any parent, the possibility that you'll lose your greatest gift which is your child. I'm a father and Sam is a father and Laura and Alvin are parents, Avi is a parent, everyone involved – early on that's what we wanted the anchoring of the character to be. It was that kind of impending tragedy with the character. You're right though, he's sympathetic and certainly some clicks beyond Eddie Brock and Venom, but I think that as Avi has said before there are no bad guys in these movies. They're just people that this far into the series, I think, come into these movies with a value system in tact that's corrupted by ambition or lust. In the case of Sandman he's really corrupted by the ferocity of his own good intentions. You've got to pretty much figure that whenever I become a sand tornado and I'm spinning through the streets of Manhattan and flipping over cars some people probably got f**ked up. That's probably a drag and they don't care if my daughter is dying because their car got turned upside down, their Hyundai Excel. They don't even see the hidden benefit that insurance pays and they get another car."

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