Andrew Garfield is Peter Parker aka Spider-Man. Words we’ve now grown used to. Honestly, I keep forgetting that there even WAS an original Spider-Man trilogy by Sam Raimi starring Tobey Maguire. Right now, they’ve gotten so much right that the original trilogy got wrong (no matter how good they were, they weren’t very faithful) and they way the reboot is being handled might make it the most faithful Marvel film to date! So with Andrew “Spider-Man” Garfield in the lead, how did we get from there to the first day of filming?
Well, once Andrew was announced as Peter, the casting of an older Peter meant a change in setting, so Alvin Sargent promised the reboot would be in a college setting in contrast to high school because 27-year old Andrew might not be able to pull off a “ten years younger-look”, not like it hasn’t been done before (every teen horror film ever made). This news was never confirmed, but it seems most likely. So how much was Garfield getting paid? A good five hundred grand, a big money-saver compared to Tobey Maguire’s original expected pay of $50 million.
Now that Peter had been cast, we must now get to the exciting part of casting the villain, the lead actress, and the supporting players! Who were the first post-Garfield casting rumours? Well, ComicBookMovie.com had reported that Scout Taylor Compton (Rob Zombie’s Halloween), R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket), and Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) were the favorites for the roles of Mary Jane Watson, J. Jonah Jameson, and Norman Osborn. Sadly, we haven’t heard any of these names since, though I’m praying for Brolin and Ermey!
Fan favorite Elena Satine (who originally was going to play Mary Jane in Julie Taymor’s supposively terrible Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark musical along with Evan Rachel Wood) also was campaigning for the role and was then rumoured to be offered the role along with Spider-Man-tryout Anton Yelchin as Harry Osborn. If Yelchin is cast, then it would mark the second time that an actor trying out for Spider-Man would end up getting the role of Harry Osborn instead (James Franco was the first).
So who will play the villain? Who will the villain be? Fresh after winning the 2010 Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Christoph Waltz was the first serious casting rumour since the lead role of Peter Parker. It sounded pretty legitimate and it was for the role of Dr. Connors/The Lizard, a role he would fit comfortably in. But I thought Sony didn’t want the Lizard for Spider-Man 4 because he didn’t have a human face? Well, they changed their minds. Sony ended up denying the casting, but announced that they had their eyes set on an actress for Aunt May!
Scout Taylor-Compton, sorry, but the shortlist for the lead female role does not include you. The shortlist consisted of Imogen Poots (Me & Orson Welles), Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew), Teresa Palmer (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), Ophelia Lovibond (Nowhere Boy), and Lilly Collins (The Blind Side). Mary Elizabeth Winstead was on the roster as well, but was quickly taken off. The rumoured role was for Gwen Stacy, Peter’s REAL true love, and a role criminally limited in the original trilogy. My guess is that Sony has their eyes on Mary Winstead as Mary Jane, but that’s just me. Hilary Duff was reported to have the script for the film on her table at her home, possibly auditioning as well. Also on the rumour list is Emma Stone (Superbad) and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) rumoured for two different love interest roles, most likely Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy.
While we wait on the Gwen casting, how about some more villain rumours? Try Billy Bob Thorton and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Pretty ridiculous considering Hoffman’s rumoured role was Venom. Thank god, that was just a pathetic rumour, thank GOD. We need no more Vultress-type casting to ruin this reboot. Diana Agron (Fox’s “Glee”) and Mia Wasikowska were also announced as the frontrunners for Gwen Stacy, a more relieving bit of news.
And who is offered the lead role? Well not lead, but supporting role of Mary Jane Watson? Emma Stone. Sony’s go-to redhead. After her star-making turn in 2010’s Easy A, Stone proves to be the most reliable young actress of her age group. She was cast and all the comic book world sighed in relief because she was right for the role. Now onto Gwen- wait, what?! Emma Stone’s casting was true, but for Mary Jane? Surprisingly, NO. Emma will be playing BLONDE. GWEN STACY. We all dropped our jaws because we all thought, why? Well Marc Webb says that her and Andrew have the perfect chemistry and she is much more suited for the role of Gwen, leaving Alvin Sargent to write Mary Jane out of the film and saving her for the sequel.
I secretly always thought Emma was more Gwen than Mary Jane (personality-wise) so I guess I got my wish. Reports also said that they were going to use an unused villain. Well, that’s good. Lizard, anyone? Just shortly after Emma’s bombshell casting, another bombshell casting appeared. Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) was cast in the lead villain role, but as who?
Now I like Rhys Ifans as an actor, so I am generally pleased with the casting, I’m just surprised they didn’t go for a bigger star, but for the better, they chose a better actor instead. He then was officially announced to be playing Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard. THANK GOD. Finally, we get to see some awesome-Lizard transformation/action that we’ve been waiting for. Sorry, Dylan Baker. Some other good news came as well, Venom was confirmed NOT to be apart of the film. Seriously, they just did Venom three years ago in Spider-Man 3, no need to ruin that again.
There was then a casting call for a young Peter Parker (ages 4-6) and Billy Connors (ages 8-11). Going to flashbacks, are we now? Finally, some Jameson casting news. Reports say John Slattery (AMC’s “Mad Men”) and Sam Elliot (Hulk) were the frontrunners to take on the iconic role of J. Jonah Jameson, previously played perfectly by J.K. Simmons in Raimi’s trilogy. But how can you top J.K. Simmons? You can’t. Good luck not recasting him. There will be no other person in the world ever to do a better Jameson than Simmons.
Now who can top the respective roles of Peter’s Aunt May and Uncle Ben? Martin Sheen was announced to be cast as Peter’s deceased uncle and shortly after Sally Field was awarded the role of Peter’s aunt and “speech-giver”, May Parker. Andrew, now finally part of an ensemble, tells us he’ll be his own critic on his performance.
As a Spider-Man fan himself, he wants only to please his fans, but mostly please himself. Recently 500 Days of Summer star Zooey Deschanel was offered the role of Betty Brant, Peter’s co-worker and Jameson’s assistant at the Daily Bugle.
Then, Denis Leary was cast as Gwen’s father Captain George Stacy, previously played by James Cromwell in Spider-Man 3. Chris Zylka (ABC Family’s “10 Things I Hate About You”) then announced over Twitter that he was cast as Flash Thompson. What do I think of these casting decisions? Perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect. Wow, for as disappointing as they’ve been recently, Sony really knows how to surprise! A young boy named Stuart Allan posted his audition video for the role of Billy Connors online, confirming the Lizard as the villain. Whether he gets casted or not, we’ll have to wait and see.
A new report claimed the film will feature Peter’s parents, Richard and Mary Parker. For anyone who knows of their comic book history, you might want to keep it a secret. If they spill their origins sometime in the new series, it will be a surprise to non-readers. Emma Stone soon announced that they’d be starting shooting the film on December 6th, 2010. That means the cast had to be assembled in less than two weeks, and it was.
Slumdog Millionaire‘s Irrfan Kahn was announced to be playing the second villain of the film, Nels Van Adder. Not part of the comics, except for a spin-off comic series, Van Adder was an employee at OSCORP who Norman (pre-Goblin) would experiment on, turning him into the Proto-Goblin. The Proto-Goblin would cause mayhem, leading to the Stacy brothers to investigate, which would tie in to Denis Leary’s casting. The Proto-Goblin was presumed dead shortly after falling off a building. As a Spider-Man fan, I had never heard of the Proto-Goblin, so it comes as a shock to me that I love this idea. Especially since it sets up Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin in a sequel. How does it tie in with the Lizard, we’ll have to find out.
Also joining the cast is Campbell Scott, Julianne Nicholson, and Annie Parisse as Peter’s parents, Richard and Mary Parker, and Van Adder’s wife. Now of course there is more casting to be announced, including Harry Osborn, Norman Osborn, Billy Connors, Joe “Robbie” Robertson, and J. Jonah Jameson, but until then, the last bit of news was this: Director of Photography John Schwartzman announced that the first day of shooting had arrived and that Spider-Man is to be the first ever film shot in RED EPIC 3-D. Sounds pretty epic, especially since they are filming The Hobbit in RED EPIC.
So, as this three-part article concludes, we look upon the good and the bad of the disaster that was Spider-Man 4 and we can sigh in relief that this film is being handled right. I’m still excited to see how this ensemble cast plays out and how the story will unfold, and most importantly, what the damn film will be called! My bets are on “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Ultimate Spider-Man”, or “Spectacular Spider-Man”. Please god, don’t let it be “Spider-Man 3-D”. From all Spidey fans around the world, we wish you Marc Webb, good luck! And I guess I have to mention Stan “The Man” Lee somewhere here in this sign-off, so Stan the Man…….you’re the man.