Ted Melfi, Jonathan Levine Perched Atop Spider-Man Director Shortlist


Sony Pictures and Marvel are still zeroing in on the young actor they want to play Spider-Man in the next big-screen take on the iconic webslinger – Tom Holland and Asa Butterfield are apparently the frontrunners, but others still have a shot at the role – but deliberations are simultaneously under way as the studios attempt to secure a director for the pivotal superhero pic. Today brings news that favorites have emerged in St. Vincent helmer Ted Melfi and Warm Bodies director Jonathan Levine.

Melfi and Levine both appeared on the original shortlist four weeks ago, alongside Vacation directorial duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jared Hess and Pitch Perfect‘s Jason Moore. If the latest report is to be believed, Daley and Goldstein are still in the mix, and a new contender has emerged in Jon Watts, who made his directorial debut in Kevin Bacon pic Cop Car at Sundance earlier this year. That’s an odd choice, and it would be shocking if Watts got the gig, but as per usual with these shortlists, the eventual choice could be any one of the names or someone who never even appeared on radar before an official announcement.


It’s clear that Marvel and Sony are looking for a helmer who can handle character-driven stories and balance humor and drama effectively. Levine is perhaps the most popular choice, given his success with teen-targeted Warm Bodies and his proven ability to do action sequences, but it must be said that some of the names that have circled this project have been rather bizarre (I can’t have been the only one to raise an eyebrow at Melfi and Hess, neither of whom have done anything remotely close to a superhero movie).

The eventual decision will come down to Sony’s Amy Pascal, Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Sony chief Tom Rothman, and it’s expected soon as the studios are aiming to include Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War before fully introducing him via a stand-alone flick.