[UPDATE: The new Spider-Man has officially been cast.]
Like a bad game show that will never die, we’re at it again with another update to the casting process behind Sony’s Spider-Man reboot. After a large pile of of recognizable names were rumored and quickly shot down for the title role in Spider-Man 3D, we reported two weeks ago that director Marc Webb and the studio had narrowed down their selection to five Peter Parker candidates.
We had moved from the likes of Taylor Lautner, Jim Sturgess, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Logan Lerman and Rob Pattinson to the lesser known and more realistic shortlist of Jamie Bell, Alden Ehrenreich, Frank Dillane, Josh Hutcherson and Andrew Garfield.
While it’s good to get an idea of what direction they may be heading in for the impatient franchise reboot, we’ve played this game before and know better. We saw a list of “final candidates” for Thor a long while ago and Marvel ended up choosing someone who wasn’t even on that list in Chris Hemsworth. More recently, we saw this phenomenon again with the selection of Chris Evans as Captain America. Evans wasn’t on the earlier lists of final choices and after it was all said and done, almost every young actor imaginable was at some point listed as a candidate.
So here we are with another large-scale superhero movie, one that moviegoers already know very well, and a plan to start anew with a fresh face to portray a much younger and innocent version of our favorite webslinger. The Spider-Man rebirth will follow a younger variant of Peter Parker as he attends high school, once again enduring the wondrous angst of teenage romance and drama.
By all accounts, Marc Webb’s take on Spider-Man will in – in some fashion at least – mirror the Ultimate Spider-Man comics take on the character. The movie will be grittier, “darker” and more real. From the official press release, the movie is based on, “a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises.”
With that in mind, how does director Marc Webb and the producers make their selection of the new face of the franchise? Initial word had them aiming in the expected direction of choosing a young (cheap) unknown to lock-up with a long-term multi-picture contract.
It made sense then that Josh Hutcherson became the top-rumored choice back in April. He’s 17 years old with plenty of acting experience and just at the beginning of his career. At 17, he’s already had major roles in Journey to the Center of the Earth, Zathura, Bridge to Terabithia and the upcoming Red Dawn remake among many others, but his name still isn’t known (yet).
Today’s rumor however, goes in the opposite direction with Jamie Bell now tapped as being the young man to play Spider-Man. The folks at Bleeding Cool are reporting that they’ve heard from several insiders that Sony has made their pick and that the pick is British actor Jamie Bell. Bell is many years older than Hucherson, at 24, and is much more recognizable, having had big roles in Jumper, Defiance, King Kong and is starring as the lead in the big budget Tin Tin adaptation from Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg.
Of course this isn’t confirmed yet so if history tells us anything, this could very well be entirely off the mark. We can’t really say either way at the moment but we can look deeper into the possibility of Jamie Bell as Peter Parker…
The Ultimate Storyline & The Ultimate Age
Peter Parker is going back to highschool and Sony wants (at least) a new trilogy to continue their super-profitable superhero franchise. No longer will they let years and years go in between subsequent installments and no longer will overinflated contracts restrict development.
With the aim of keeping Peter Parker young and the story not confined to his relationship to Mary Jane, Jamie Bell doesn’t seem the right choice. He’s currently 24, meaning he’ll be around 27 when the Spider-Man 3D comes out in 2012. That seems like the same problem they ran into with Tobey Maguire and it really holds them back on the idea of him being a high school student.
Would the new Spider-Man series follow the path of Sam Raimi’s trilogy and only have him in high school for the first film? Will the supporting cast all be 7+ years too old to actually be in high school as well?
Jamie Bell is one of the most established and recognizable actors on the current shortlist and there no questioning his talent. He’s going to be a star and that’s already happening, but is he right for Sony’s current plans for our favorite webslinger?
Jumping the Gun
I already brought up this point but I’ll reiterate; We need to be careful before we jump the gun on rumors like this. At the moment, the Jamie Bell report is still unconfirmed and we know very well from the casting process behind Green Lantern, Thor and most recently, The First Avenger: Captain America, that the shortlist and “leading contender” for any given comic book movie can seemingly change on the flip of the dime as can the legitimacy of the information that hits the web (no pun intended).
Does Jamie Bell work for you as a high school Peter Parker?
The Spider-Man reboot is set to hit theaters July 12, 2012.
Source: Bleeding Cool