After seeing Mallrats, Warner Brothers producer Jon Peters considered hiring Kevin Smith to work on Superman Lives. Smith visited Peters in his Hollywood monster home to discuss the project. Peters, who climbed the Hollywood ladder from the lowest rung (Barbra Streisand's former hairdresser), began by telling Smith he was perfect for the project because, like Peters, he understood Superman. "You know why we understand Superman?" he asked. "Because we're from the streets."

Smith, who grew up in suburban New Jersey, did not argue the point and Peters continued. Smith could do whatever he liked with the story, said Peters, with three exceptions. "I don't want to see him in the suit," Peters began, explaining that it made Superman look gay. Secondly? "I don't want to see him flying..."

If Smith was speechless, he had yet to hear the third demand: "I want to see him wrestle with a giant spider in the third act." Why a spider, Smith asked. "Do you know anything about spiders," Peters replied. "Theyre the fiercest killers in the insect kingdom!"

As so often happens in Hollywood, a director (Tim Burton) was soon attached -- and insisted on bringing in his own writers. Smith, who had a nasty feud with Burton (after claiming that he had stolen the idea for Planet of the Apes from a comic book) noticed that the spider promptly disappeared from the script. Some time later, however, he went to see another Peters production: Barry Sonnenfeld's Wild Wild West:

"I'm watching this thinking, this is really a piece of s---," he later recalled. He had the laugh of his life, however, as the plot unfolded. The plot? President Grant assigns two U.S. Marshals (Will Smith and Kevin Kline) to stop a deranged madman (Kenneth Branagh) from wreaking havoc on the country... with a giant mechanical spider!

[Many critics called Wild Wild West the worst film of the year.]

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