Some potentially heartening news has arrived. Those who thought the "Spider-Man" 3D reboot would just be an excuse to tackle the "Twilight"-y tween-beat demo — including most of the members of The Playlist — might want to think again.
HeatVision has unveiled what looks like the new shortlist and "Percy Jackson" it kid, Logan Lerman, is nowhere on that list (Hitflix said he was a lock and Deadline then countered with a, no he's not a few weeks ago and that appears to have proven true).
The shortlist has emerged and much to our surprise and pleasure, the actors are older than we expected and some of them are actually great actors. Well played, Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer"), though honestly, we figured Sony would fuck this up, not you.
Let's start with what we would consider the top three: Jamie Bell, Andrew Garfield and Alden Ehrenreich. While he is not a huge star yet, 24-year-old Bell is the most well-known as he is the star of Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)." Bell obviously started his career with his awesome turn in "Billy Elliot," and he'll also appear in the just-moved-to-2011 intelligent history-actioner picture, "Eagle Of The Ninth."
Like Bell, Andrew Garfield is another Brit. He burst onto the scene with a stellar turn in the indie drama, "Boy A" (we flagged him in our Breakout Actors of 2008 picks), and he was jovial in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." But if you haven't seen him in the aforementioned pic where he plays young ex-con Jack, newly released from serving a prison sentence for a murder he committed as a child, you probably haven't witnessed the full extent of how good he can be. He'll also probably display some chops in Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go" this fall, but it's not quite a leading role (he was also awesome in Spike Jonze's love-robots short, "I'm Here," and has one of the key roles in David Fincher's "The Social Network" — clearly talented filmmakers saw "Boy-A"). The only issue, is he too old at 26 years old?
20-year-old newcomer Alden Ehrenreich is a wonderful discovery by Francis Ford Coppola who cast him in his underrated black-and-white (mostly, some color) 2009 picture, "Tetro." But he's sooo unknown. Would Sony go for him? Kudos for shortlisting him. He's great (though actually a Spielberg find, that dude knows talent).
All three actors can play moody and angst-ridden, which exactly what Webb and Sony are going for with this grounded super-hero tale about a teenager who lives with the bitterness, pain and realization that he had the power to stop his uncle's killer, but failed. This chip on your shoulder makes for one brooding hero, which is a great way to reexamine the character (not that Sam Raimi's film's didn't have that angst, but the villains did make it rather cartoony).
As recently revealed, Alvin Sargent (he had a hand in all three Sam Raimi-led "Spider-Man" films) is re-writing a draft already penned by James Vanderbilt, who previously brought us the screenplay for "Zodiac." While that sounds amazing, Vanderbilt's recent work ("The Losers," "The Rundown") isn't anything we'd do backflips for.
Sony/Columbia want to shoot the film by the end of the year and are apparently taking their time getting the casting and script in place. They would also not confirm HeatVision's reporting. Hopefully their new ex-US Weekly boss won't make them change their standards which so far have been great. Either way, if the "good" part of this casting sticks (we don't know Dillane and Hutcherson from shynola), we're officially all-of-a-sudden very interested in this reboot, 3D or otherwise.