In an era where many of the biggest blockbusters are based on comic book characters, The Amazing Spider-Man series differentiates itself with inspired casting choices and strong onscreen character relationships. Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen and Sally Field made the Marc Webb's first 3D adventure work despite plot holes and narrative issues, and the sequel has already turned heads with its casting additions.
Director Marc Webb and Columbia Pictures are continuing to bolster their talent show that is The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a film that already added Jamie Foxx, Shailene Woodley, Felicity Jones, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, with another smart casting addition, this time adding another Oscar winner in a key franchise role.
THR has the scoop that Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper (The Muppets, The Town) has signed with Sony Pictures to play Norman Osborn, a role played by Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man feature film.
Don't expect a Green Goblin appearance anytime soon, however. Sony and director Marc Webb have been smart to avoid retreading villains in the quickly rebooted series, with The Amazing Spider-Man utilizing The Lizard and the sequel introducing Electro and Rhino, potentially setting up or teasing Venom. Venom is a character Sony wants to branch off into a separate franchise. That's why he was forcefully introduced in Raimi's Spider-Man 3, why James Vanderbilt co-wrote the reboot (he also wrote the Venom script) and why it's been hinted and rumor that Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn could become Venom.
Cooper has trained for this role - see for yourself:
Cooper represents another brilliant addition to the franchise, as a proven character actor fans can rally behind. He can play a lovable force for good, a sly villain or someone shadily in between. While contract details are unavailable, Cooper may have a multi-picture contract due to the importance of Oscorp in the franchise. We know from chatting with the developers of The Amazing Spider-Man game that in the reboot franchise biology is the focus and much (all?) of that comes from the science experiments conducted at Oscorp.
How that plays into the origins of Electro and Rhino, let alone the new and inevitable Venom, remains to be seen. We're also curious how the story of Peter Parker's parents and their history with Norman Osborn plays out. Marc Webb in responding to a question about the Sinister Six potential team-up of villains in The Amazing Spider-Man trilogy:
"There is a silhouette as Peter enters Oscorp on a display, which reads our founder, Norman Osborn. And there is a back-story which I will not reveal. We wanted to convey that there were more forces at work than you may have initially thought. That’s all I can say about that."
Excited? Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes your thoughts on the new Osborn!
Fun fact: In Marvel Comics, Norman Osborn wears the Iron Patriot armor and not Rhodey (Don Cheadle) who will wear it in Iron Man 3.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 releases May 2, 2014.