Joe Manganiello Says "Spider-Man" Crew Member Offered Him $100 to Really Punch Tobey Maguire
He played Peter Parker's bully in the 2002 superhero film.
Over the years, actor Tobey Maguire has occasionally made headlines for his rumored bad behavior both on- and off-set. The 48-year-old has tussled with the paparazzi on occasion, and many believe that Player X, the villanious character played by Michael Cera in the 2017 poker drama Molly's Game, is based on him. Whether that's true of not, it seems that Maguire was not universally beloved on the set of the first Spider-Man movie, which was released in 2002. Joe Manganiello, who had a small role as high school bully Flash Thompson, revealed years later that a crew member actually offered him $100 to really punch the star in the face during their fight scene. Read on to find out more.
Manganiello auditioned for the lead role.
While Manganiello made his mark in the franchise as Flash, he originally auditioned for the role of Peter. He lost out to Maguire, who became a huge star after the original film became the highest grossing superhero movie up until that point.
But Manganiello didn't hold a grudge against his co-star, later revealing during a 2020 interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers, that he didn't feel he was a good fit for the role.
"The trope or the archetype of Peter Parker is that he's this, like, nerd. He's very smart but not the cool guy in school, and he is in love with the cool guy's girlfriend," Manganiello told Meyers. "So, I knew that no matter how much of a nerd I am on the inside, I'm never gonna be cast as Peter Parker."
The actor added that he was so confident he wouldn't be considered for Peter that he came to the audition having already prepared to run lines as Flash—the role he ultimately landed.
The crew tried to pay Manganiello to hit Maguire.
Adult language in the clip above.
By most accounts, Maguire was hardworking and well-liked on the Spider-Man set. The movie's director, Sam Raimi, even called him his "hero" after the actor returned to the role for Spider-Man: No Way Home in 2021.
But that didn't stop him from (almost) becoming the target of a practical joke by some members of the film's crew, as Manganiello revealed during a 2014 appearance on The Pete Holmes Show. When Holmes joked that he wished Flash had actually hit Peter in the face in the movie, the Magic Mike star admitted that it could've happened, even though it wasn't in the script.
"There was a crew guy, who came up to me and said, 'Listen, um, I'll give you $100 if you hit him in the face by accident," Manganiello said. "And he said, 'Some of the other guys are in on it.' And I looked over, and there was an electrician plugging something in, and he just looked up at me and gave me that look, like [nods head]."
He chose not to risk his career.
Manganiello went on to recall his response to the crew.
"And I went, 'I'm not gonna [expletive] punch him in the face, guys,'" he said.
Asked by Holmes if he even thought about fulfilling the crew's request, he answered, "I probably wouldn't have worked again."
"At least not with Tobey Maguire," Holmes shot back, adding, "You could have played Seabiscuit," referring to the 2003 Oscar-nominated film in which Maguire played a jockey riding the famed racehorse of the title.
For the record, Manganiello stated that he "had a wonderful time" working on Spider-Man.
Manganiello eventually joined the DC Extended Universe.
Though he may have missed out on playing a horse, Manganiello did well not to dampen his future career prospects. In the decades since the release of Spider-Man, he's landed roles in dozens of films and TV series, including True Blood, the Magic Mike trilogy, and How I Met Your Mother.
And he even got another chance at a superhero role, albeit as another bad guy: Manganiello played supervillain Deathstroke in a post-credits sequence of the 2017 DC Extended Universe film Justice League, and got a little more screen time in the 2021 director's cut. Reportedly Deathstroke was going to star in his own spinoff movie, but it was canceled when Warner Bros. decided to reboot the comic book franchise.