Hollywood is seeking a new Spider-Man after Sony Pictures made the shock announcement that Tobey Maguire would no longer take the lead role in the £2 billion franchise.
After reports that production on Spider-Man 4 had stalled amid disagreements over the script, Sony said that Maguire, who plays Peter Parker
, and Sam Raimi
, the director, had both left the film.
Sony said that a new Spider-Man film would appear in 2012 focusing on Parker, a teenager “grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing superhuman crises
”. Although Maguire is hugely popular with young filmgoers, he would be 36 by the time the new film was released.
When the first film was released, in 2002, his performance as the student bitten by a genetically modified spider won praise and the opening weekend broke box-office records.
The third film grossed $1 billion
and the three films, directed by Raimi, are in the top 25 biggest grossing hits of all time.
Only this week Maguire had said he was looking forward to shooting Spider-Man 4. “We have a lot of great stuff in terms of story and script,
” he said. “We’re just trying to dial it in and get it ready as quickly as possible. Of course, these movies are a very big undertaking and take a lot more time than a drama or something more straightforward
But the fourth film has been dogged by trouble and is expected to miss a projected release date of May 2011. There were reports that Raimi wanted to cast John Malkovich
as a winged, flying baddie, against the wishes of Sony. The studio, it was claimed, wanted a more cute villain who would also be the love interest.
Sony is to release more information on the film in the coming weeks.
Raimi acknowledged that the studio was heading in a “new direction”. Raimi said: “While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel [Spider-Man was created for Marvel Comics in 1962] have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job
The change gives Sony the opportunity to “reboot” the franchise, following the example of Paramount
, which successfully reinvented Star Trek
with a young cast last year.
Meanwhile, a Broadway
musical based on the Spider-Man character is scheduled to open next month.
Source: London Times Online
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