Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse had big shoes to fill: its own preceding film.

The first Spider-Verse movie was a smash hit, and the venn diagram of fans and critics was – in a rare occasion – a full circle. Many wondered if the sequel could repeat — or even build upon — the magic that came before it. And it did. The returning writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller created a screenplay with equal parts emotional depth and laugh out loud humour. Its stars, the returning Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld, were simply superb and the animation was even more groundbreaking and breathtaking than before. 

Ahead of this five star film’s debut, 1883 Magazine sits down with the duo to talk about the pressure of living up to the first film, the most surprising challenges of the sequel, and the out of body experience of finding yourself in animation. 


What was the most surprising challenge in making Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, compared to the first film?

SM: Maybe not to laugh so much! It was fun. It really was — so to stay focused, maybe. Because Bill and Jake might just go riffing for like, an hour, you know. We just end up laughing in there. It can just become very fun. But that’s when the best work comes out. So that’s, I think the challenges are more in that vein. 

HS: As far as surprises, I actually felt a level of confidence that I didn’t have as much of the first time around, because I didn’t understand the process as much. So coming into this and understanding the way that it worked, understanding what was required of me… And being in the room with the same team is always a dream. I got to be in the room with actors this time. So that was a challenge, just a new and exciting thing. As far as surprises go, I felt a little more grounded this time around. I knew what I was getting myself into.



Did you feel pressure to live up to the expectations set by the Into the Spider-Verse?

SM: I didn’t feel much pressure, I was just excited. A lot of the responses I got were ‘I can’t believe you guys topped the first one’ or ‘I can’t believe it’s as good as the first one’ so… I don’t know that they were expecting it to be this good anyway!  It’s just weird. We’re having fun making this, it’s being treated like a passion project and I can trust the directors and my castmates and animators. And we can also trust the fans to show up.


What is it like watching your voice come out of these animated characters?

HS: In a way it sort of has allowed me to take that step back that is often harder for me to do if it is not animated. I feel like time has to go by for me to feel a little bit removed enough to watch it as an audience member. But I think it’s fun. I also feel like the filmmakers allowed for us to bring so much of ourselves into these roles. I can feel that when I watch it and there are parts that I’ll giggle at knowing like, that felt like Shameik or that felt like Jake, that felt like Daniel — in the best and most authentic way.  I feel like that was something they really pushed us to do was be authentic and yeah.


How do you approach the process of creating a character for animation differently to that of a live-action character?

SM: If I was to play Miles Morales right, I would definitely lose weight. Like, if it’s on screen, I think the preparation goes into your physicality as well. Your mannerisms and what makes you that character, whatever the character is. With animation you get to dive into your emotion and sell that through your voice, which is challenging when you have to play fear, happiness, joy, sadness, excitement, etc. and be believable. It can be challenging.



Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is in theatres now.


Interview Gabriella Geisinger

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