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Jul052010

We've got a Spider-Man! It's...Andrew Garfield? (Media Round-Up)

Life's opportunities cannot be planned. Andrew Garfield learned that the other day when he was picked as the next Spider-Man and then paraded onto a stage surrounded by reporters a mere half hour later. The biggest news, however, is that the blogosphere has no opinion of the young British actor. Is he right for the role of Peter Parker? Can he fill Tobey Maguire's shoes? Is he too similar? Is he too boring? No one has much of an opinion, it seems. Odd.

I think it's a smart, bold casting move. Garfield, who turns 27 in August, is older than most of the rumored Spider-Man candidates. Aside from Anton Yelchin (Chekov in Star Trek), he's the best actor of the bunch, and certainly a better choice than Logan Lerman. Garfield's work in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus earlier is quick-and-dirty proof. To quote my own review:

Andrew Garfield is a solid up-and-comer as well. I expect we haven't seen the last of him. - Me

Prophetic words. More seriously though, he has exactly what we need in Peter Parker. Parker is one of the best comic book characters of all time. He's a superhero who's biggest problems aren't super villains, they are trying to balance a real life while using his gift for good. Peter Parker creates Spider-Man as a way to heal his own demons, and consistently has to face his own failures head on. He's a bright kid, but barely has the time to scrape by. He hates the consequences of his choices, but feels the need to help others.

Tobey Maguire was a great choice for the role back in 2002. He exudes the troubled nature of Parker. Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) is hoping to recreate that magic, and casting Garfield is a good change of pace. He should provide a more emotional Parker, where Maguire's was shy and reserved.

Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, President of Columbia Pictures issued a typical, strong endorsement for the young actor.

“Spider-Man is a classic superhero—a young man who balances his responsibility to serve humanity and crush evil with the shyness and normalcy of someone struggling to find himself. The role demands an extraordinary actor. You need someone who can magically transform himself from Peter Parker into Spider-Man. An actor who will depict the vulnerability of youth and the strength and confidence of a legendary figure at the same moment. We have found that actor in Andrew Garfield. From the first time we saw him in the upcoming film The Social Network, to his glorious screen test, which floored all of us, we knew that we had found our new Peter Parker.”

If you're like me and words just aren't enough, here's a pretty cool montage of Garfield's past work, found by Liam at Filmonic. Check it out.

He's got skills. But can he wear the tights? Or better yet, can he afford them? Word is, he's getting paid only $500,000 for the first film, and $1-2 million for the sequels, should they make them. Not much by today's standards, but the new film has a much lower budget ($80 million) than the preposterous $250+ million Sony spent on Spider-Man 3. Unless you're making Avatar 2, there is no reason any filmmaker can justify spending that kind of money. I'm glad they've scaled back. If Spidey can't be made for $80 million, Hollywood has big problems. $500,000 ain't a bad paycheck either. 

Garfield will have roles in The Social Network and Never Let Me Go, two interesting films that debut later this year. IGN put together a good retrospective on his career, so far, as well. You can find that here. The new Spider-Man reboot is slated for a summer 2012 release. 

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