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The Bizarre 1987 Exercise Video & Its Forgotten Star Explained

While Scott Leva’s performance as Spider-Man in “Spider-Man Super-Fit Youth Fitness System” may not rank among the character’s most iconic film adaptations, there’s no denying that the actor adds to the video’s, well, interesting quality. It gives fans a window into what could have been, as Leva was originally set to don the blue-and-red spandex for Spidey’s big-screen debut.

The first attempt at a Spider-Man movie started in 1985 when low-budget studio Cannon Films purchased the rights from Marvel for $225,000. Screenwriter Leslie Stevens was tasked with helming the script, with producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus looking to make the project a “Wolfman”-esque horror venture that would have been directed by “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” filmmaker Tobe Hooper. While the team had high hopes that Tom Cruise would star as the titular superhero, actor-stuntman Leva was the more likely candidate, given his prior appearances as the character, including posing on the cover of “The Amazing Spider-Man #262.” Following harsh budget slashing and further rewrites, Cannon folded and was acquired by Pathe Communications. Golan, still possessing the rights, still tried getting the film made, but the license expired after financing woes kept stalling the project’s process.

As for Leva, while his Spider-Man film never came off the ground, it wouldn’t be the performer’s last rodeo with Marvel. Far from that, as he made crucial contributions as a stunt coordinator for Marvel films and shows such as “X-Men” (where, in a blooper reel, he wears a Spider-Man costume) and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Additionally, he has been on the stunt team for other fan-favorite projects such as “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Insidious,” and 2011’s “The Muppets.” 

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