Despite the seemingly rushed nature of Sony Pictures' reboot of the Spider-Man franchise after dropping Sam Raimi's problematic Spider-Man 4, The Amazing Spider-Man - despite its flaws - successfully reintroduced Peter Parker in large part due to its roster of talent onscreen. For The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Marc Webb looks to keep that magic flowing with inspired casting that already includes Jamie Foxx as the villainous Electro, Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) as Mary Jane and Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Harry Osborn.
Today we've learned that Sony is looking to bolster the cast led by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone even more by adding Paul Giamatti and Felicity Jones.
The scoop comes from THR who have it on good authority that Oscar-nominated Paul Giamatti is in negotiations to join The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as the villainous Rhino, while Brit actress Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) is also in talks for another, unknown role. Could she play one-time love interests Betty Brant or Liz Allan, or is Webb pulling out all the stops and introducing Felicia Hardy AKA Black Cat?
The report confirms Sony's attempt at distancing itself from the Sam Raimi trilogy of Spider-Man films by taking advantage of a different set of villains. Both Electro and Rhino were mentioned among fan wishlists for inclusion in Raimi's ill-fated Spider-Man 4 and will finally get their chance in the Marc Webb universe.
Every character Giamatti touches is gold and to see him play the physically-dominant Rhino will be something unique for the superhero genre, especially given the track record of the franchise to successfully adapt the more "out there" characters like Sandman and The Lizard. So, expect to see a super-powered and gigantic Rhino on screen battling Spider-Man.
In Marvel Comics, Rhino (real name: Aleksei Sytsevich) was a member of the Russian mafia who, after undergoing a lengthy process genetic manipulation with chemicals and radiation, was given his superhuman abilities, but unfortunately no superhuman level of intelligence. His powers are further enhanced by a suit he wears on top of his thick armored skin.
As our own Kofi Outlaw brought up in chatting with Marc Webb last summer, it looks as if the end credits sequence of The Amazing Spider-Man and the plans for the sequel could be leading to the formation of the Sinister Six (read Webb's curious response here), where multiple Spidey villains (The Lizard, Electro and Rhino included in various incarnations) form together. Such a large-scale threat certainly boosts the blockbuster appeal of the franchise in a post-Avengers genre.
[Update: I made this. 9-foot Paul Giamatti running headfirst into walls. Think about it.]
For fans of The Amazing Spider-Man video game, I met with the producers behind it who spent many hours working with Sony to ensure the game fits within the plans for the film universe where Oscorp and their biological experimentation were the central point for all of the super-powered characters we know from years of Marvel Comics. Rhino (pictured up top) was re-imagined for the game.
Fun fact: The Oscorp tower from The Amazing Spider-Man almost made its way into The Avengers but digital effects on the New York skyline were already near completion.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 releases May 2, 2014.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for more!
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