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The Unusual Way This Spider-Man: No Way Home Villain Was Actually Filmed

As the weeks have passed since the release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" much more has been revealed about the cast and the often speculated about appearances from returning characters. As we now know, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire's Spider-Men do appear in the film alongside the villains from their respective movies, including Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Lizard (Rhys Ifans), and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church). 

Plenty of CGI is used throughout the film's scenes involving the villains and all three Spider-Men. Thomas Haden Church's Sandman requires a lot of it given the form he takes when using his powers. However, it's noticeable that he remains in the sand form for nearly all of the film until the final battle, where the Spider-Men are able to cure his condition and he returns to his human form. So, what was it like for Church to film his scenes as Sandman? A bit of behind-the-scenes information gives us a clue.

A lot of CGI went into creating Sandman for Spider-Man: No Way Home

Speaking in an interview with befores & afters, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" visual effects supervisor Kelly Port noted what the crew did for Sandman in this film as far as visual effects were concerned. He explained that creating VFX for Sandman was "challenging both technically and creatively," and it was tough getting the character just right in many of the battles during "No Way Home." When asked about having the benefit of the actor on set for any facial caps, Port replied, "Well, we had his voice. We weren't able to get a lot of visuals on him, but we were able to get his voice for sure and we got scans and textures and things like that."

So, it seems that Thomas Haden Church's role in the film may have actually been mostly a vocal performance. There has been speculation that "No Way Home" may have recycled footage from previous web-crawler outings such as "Spider-Man 3" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" (via The Direct). It should be noted, however, that none of this has been officially confirmed.