Julie Taymor’s dispute with the producers of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark continues this week with a 46-page complaint filed Friday that’s as contentious as it is long. Taymor, who was fired from the show last March, is still seeking back pay, and more importantly for our purposes (the purposes of not being super bored), her complaint sheds some light on the internal Turn off the Dark emails (see what I did there?). There’s a lot to parse, but the gist of it is, Taymor (at least, according to Taymor) was doing her best to make the story work using Bono and Edge’s songs, but not surprisingly, some of their lyrics didn’t make a lot of sense, and they were never around to help re-write them. The complaint quotes an email from Taymor begging for their help working on the song.
A lot is happening. It is getting clearer. The show is running more smoothly. But clarity in the last third is still the issue. We are working hard on it. A major rewrite of LOVE ME KILL ME is happening. But we all believe that the BOY FALLS needs a major rethinking or rejiggering of the lyrics. . . . [I]t is too baffling for the audience. It does not clearly state where Peter is or is going.
On December 19, Taymor again wrote to Bono and Edge:
It is nine pm in NYC. I am just about to sit down to a home cooked meal. I have been at it on [Spider-Man] nonstop. Glen has as well. We are writing lyrics, lines of dialogue, changes in music–all in service to the ending, to clarity. We know what the story is, we understand the stakes–but we do not have the lyrics to support it. I would like to talk to you before midnight my time– after I eat– to go over the situation and beg for lyrics. We need you. It is not easy to change anything but now I think it is a matter of lyrical and musical changes — and perhaps cutting a scene or two from a second act.
Jeez, who would’ve ever thought the guy who once wrote “I want to reach out and touch the flame where the streets have no name” would have such a hard time telling a coherent story, huh? At some point after that, Bono and Edge (who, yes, is indeed referred to as “Edge” throughout the complaint and in private emails) started working with Taymor’s writing partner Glen Berger on a rewrite behind Taymor’s back, a plan they called “plan X.” I absolutely cannot get enough of two grown men calling themselves “Bono” and “The Edge” working on a super secret rewrite of a musical about Spider-Man that they’d named like it was the f*cking Enigma machine. Anyway, they apparently planned to tell Taymor about the plan one night, but Bono showed up drunk with supermodels instead: