The way Jeff Daniels tells it, his first reaction to the proposal of a film called "Arachnophobia" was negative.
"My agent called and said, 'Well, it's about spiders,' " Daniels recalls. "I said, 'Oh great! "The Attack of the Killer Spiders." Great!
Terrific! I'll pass.' "
When the agent explained that co-producers Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg were involved in the project, Daniels agreed to read the script. And liked it. His verdict: "If anybody can do this in a first-class way, those guys can."
After years of directing second unit on Spielberg films, Frank Marshall made his debut as director with "Arachnophobia." Besides the human actors--Daniels, John Goodman, Julian Sands and Harley Jane Kozak--Marshall directed hundreds of spiders that invade a small California town.
"I don't mind the little guys," Daniels said. "I'm pretty much a manly man when it comes to that sort of thing. But the big boys, nine inches across with the legs spread out, . . . spit at you."
"They had a 'spider orientation' on the second day of shooting. We were all supposed to go and basically learn how to become friends with the spiders and have them crawl on you as pets. I blew that off. If we're supposed to be afraid of spiders, let's be afraid of spiders.
"If there's any opportunity at all to eliminate acting I'm all for it. In the second half of this movie, there's not a lot of acting going on. It's personal terror."