Things are going to be coming together soon in Spidey-land over the next couple months as the gears begin to catch and production of the dreaded-by-many “Spider-Man” reboot begins to slowly roll forward under the direction of “500 Days of Summer’s” Mark Webb. With a scheduled October start-date the project seems guaranteed to generate a relentless slew of breathless news pieces over the rest of the summer hyping the latest casting choices.
The first, and most important, priority, though, is deciding who’ll be donning the red and blue bodysuit. Although a few random names (Logan Lerman, Johnny Simmons) managed to leak out over the last while, The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog has narrowed the candidates down to five mostly unknown young actors. Without any unnecessary pomp and circumstance, the current front-runners are:
Jamie Bell, 24: Star of the Academy Award-nominated “Billy Elliot,” along with some serious big-budget studio fare (“King Kong,” “Jumper,” “Defiance,” Spielberg’s impending “Tintin” film) and period pictures (“Nicholas Nickleby” and “Jane Eyre”), Bell has definite chops but seems a bit old for a series built around the high school adventures of Peter Parker — especially considering the fact that there are likely plans for a trilogy of films and he’d be hovering in his early 30s by the last installment. On an unrelated amusing side-note, his ex-girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood was long tapped to play Mary Jane in the disastrous-sounding “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Lights” Broadway musical.
Alden Ehrenreich, 20: While this unwieldy-monikered actor has very little work on his resume, with only a role in Frances Ford Coppola’s “Tetro” standing out at all, he was discovered, courtesy of a comedy video, by Steven Spielberg at his daughter’s friend’s bat mitzvah (*Sigh* some things you just can’t make up folks!) And when you have the Beard in your corner, the world is your oyster (or so I hear). So don’t be surprised if Ehrenreich winds up nabbing the coveted role.
Frank Dillane, 19: Another actor, albeit a Brit one, with a fairly blank filmography, outside of a brief performance as young Tom Riddle in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Frankly, I have absolutely zero recollection of that particular turn, which doesn’t speak wonders for the brilliance of his work in the flick.
Andrew Garfield, 27: Whether he nets the web-slinging job or not, Garfield is a major talent on the rise, with some acclaimed TV work (“BBC’s “Sugar Rush” and the “Red Riding” trilogy) and an effective performance in “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” under his belt, plus a high-profile role in David Fincher’s eagerly anticipated “The Social Network” next up on the docket. I severely doubt Garfield will wind up being cast due to his age. This reboot is being envisioned as a youth-friendly high school series and he’s just too old for the part. Unless, of course, they’re going for a Luke Perry on “Beverly Hills 90210” type-thing, which would be really stupid but also kinda funny. Peter Parker could celebrate his graduation by having a mid-life crisis, buying a Porsche and ditching MJ for a 19-year-old cocktail waitress named Candy!
Josh Hutcherson, 18: The youngest candidate on the list, Hutcherson has already achieved relative prominence due to his leading-man work in “Zathura,” “Bridge to Terabithia and “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D,” and he still has the “Red Dawn” remake and a Sundance indie hit called “The Kids Are All Right” awaiting release unto the masses. He’s also been awarded headliner status in a sequel to “Journey 3D” (http://itsjustmovies.com/11124) which may or may not interfere with him being cast in “Spidey.” Of all the choices, he alone seems to fit both the age and experience demands for the role. So, unless Sony decided to go with a true unknown like Dillane or Ehrenreich, my money is on Hutcherson. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I have no idea.
How do you guys feel about these prospective Peter Parkers? Do any of them help sweeten this reboot deal for you, or are you still bitterly mourning the loss of a Raimi-directed “Spider-Man 4” like me? Thwip your feedback onto our comment section or forums and make your voices heard, true believers!
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.