When Sony Pictures’ fourth Sam Raimi Spider-Man flick faced some production difficulties earlier this year, the studio did the most reasonable thing by Hollywood logic: They fired their veteran director and announced a total reboot for its insanely lucrative superhero franchise. Helmed by Marc Webb and based on a screenplay by James Vanderbilt, this film would take the character back to his high school roots, which is pretty lame considering the fact that we just saw teenage Peter Parker in 2002’s Spider-Man eight years ago. But since Twilight is making all kinds of money these days, the studio likely thought that more high school angst was just what this franchise needed. Hell, put him up against Morbius and you’ve practically got Twilight with web-shooters.
One of the big questions on most comic book geeks’ minds over the past few months was who would be playing the new wall-crawler. Late last week, Sony confirmed that relative unknown British actor Andrew Garfield will be donning the tights for this film and any foreseeable sequels. Because, and here’s that Hollywood logic again, if you’re going to take a character back to his teenage years, casting a 26-year-old makes perfect sense.
“I’m incredibly excited about Andrew Garfield,” said producer Avi Arad in a statement. “In the Spider-Man tradition, we were looking for a smart, sensitive, and cool new Peter Parker who can inspire us and make us laugh, cry and cheer. We believe we have found the perfect choice to take on this role and lead us into the future.”
Fun fact: Tobey Maguire was roughly the same age in 2001 when he was cast in the original Spider-Man, and if you recall, he really didn’t spend all that much time in high school in that first film. If Sony plans on keeping these new films rooted in high school, and since they didn’t cast a teenager as they should have done, things might get complicated down the line. Garfield will be in his 30s by the time the sequels roll around, and guys that age tend to make senior prom security personnel pretty nervous.
If you’re looking for examples of Garfield’s work, he appeared in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and stars in the upcoming film The Social Network. Yes, he’s in the Facebook movie.
The new Spider-Man film (in, ugh, “eye-popping 3D”) hits theaters in 2012.