Arachnophobia is a 1990 American natural horror comedy film directed by Frank Marshall in his directorial debut, based on Don Jakoby and Wesley Strick’s screenplay. The film, starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman, follows a small California town that is overrun by an aggressive and dangerous spider species. Its title alludes to a fear of spiders. But did you know what happened to the largest spider in the film?
The largest spider in the film Arachnophobia was a bird-eating spider named Big Bob after Robert Zemeckis. Big Bob was adopted by Jamie Hyneman, who later became the host of Mythbusters. A hairdryer and lemon pledge spray were used to keep the kids under control.
Where Did the Name “Big Bob” Come From?
The production required two types of spiders: the first, an arachnid that travels from South America to California, had to be about one foot across. The filmmakers found their star in a bird-eating tarantula native to the Amazon; only one such spider existed in the United States. Big Bob was named after director Robert Zemeckis by Marshall.
Big Bob was terrifying, but not enough to cause Arachnophobia. According to Entertainment Weekly, the production painted purple stripes on his back and added a prosthetic abdomen to give him greater bulk. (Source: Mental Floss)
The Spider Olympics
In the film, Big Bob arrives in California and immediately mates with a house spider, producing super-lethal offspring. Marshall and his team evaluated several species, including wolf spiders, tarantulas, and huntsman spiders, by putting them through a Spider Olympics, which included running each species through 10 tests, including speed. The faster the spider, the scarier it is, its climbing ability, and its reaction to heat and cold.
According to Marshall, the gold medalist was the three-inch-wide Delena spider, a harmless but sinister-looking huntsman native to Australia and introduced to New Zealand in the 1920s. Marshall joked that we got them all little passports, which was partially true: the production had to go through hoops to bring 300 spiders to the United States for filming and that was just the initial shipment; supplies were replenished every two weeks. (Source: Mental Floss)
What were the Challenges While Filming Spiders
The safety of the spiders was paramount throughout the production, so for one scene in which Goodman had to spray an arachnid with insecticide before squashing it with his boot, the production took extreme precautions: first, a dummy spider was sprayed.
For the squash shot, Goodman wore special boots with a hollowed-out sole.
I swear, Kutcher was more concerned with the spiders than with us, The sequence lasts under half a minute on screen but took hours to shoot.John Goodman, Actor on Arachnophobia
Though Daniels claimed to be fine with tiny spiders, he admitted that anyone in his right mind would be concerned about spiders the size of Big Bob. But exterminator Delbert McClintock, played by John Goodman, was unfazed.
I don’t have any problem, We see each other eye to eye—well, two eyes to their 16—but we get along swell.John Goodman
(Source: Mental Floss)
Image from Prop Store