Last October we published a story which claimed that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would feature Jamie Foxx as Electro, The Descendant’s Shailene Woodley (pictured on the right) as Mary Jane Watson, and another, then-unknown actor as Harry Osborn. Though lacking any official confirmation, it was exciting news for Spider-Man fans. Both Harry Osborn and Mary Jane Watson are two of the key players in Spider-Man’s world (the latter spent decades as his wife, while the former is his off and on best pal), and Electro is a classic Spider-Man villain. What the rumor lacked in original new ideas for Spider-Man, it more than made up for in familiar faces recognizable to comic book geeks.
Assuming that story caught your interest, you’ll be happy to learn that it was all apparently true. This morning Sony Pictures issued a press release announcing that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has begun filming in New York City. It’s interesting to note that Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be the first movie “in the history of the franchise that will be filmed entirely in New York City and New York State,” but more crucially the announcement stands as the first official confirmation of the earlier rumors. Plus, it includes a brief yet vaguely telling plot synopsis for the movie.
In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.
One important detail missing from October’s rumor involves actor Paul Giamatti, who is also attached to appear in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, instead of his typically more thoughtful roles, Giamatti appears to be playing one of Spider-Man’s largest, most physically imposing foes, Aleksei Sytsevich, better known to fans as The Rhino.
Marvel Comics officially describes The Rhino as a 6’5″ tall, 700-plus pound hulking brute with all of the patience and grace of his animal namesake. You expect Hollywood productions to take liberties, especially comic book adaptions that hope to have at least a touch of realism, so 5’9″ Giamatti that isn’t exactly physically imposing seems like an odd choice – at the very least he is certainly being cast against character. Of course, the signing of Jamie Foxx as Electro, a character that has always appeared as Caucasian in the comics, seems to prove that the film is far more concerned with getting the best talent rather than just matching a completely incidental description.
Giamatti’s role has been rumored for quite a while now, but to date we’ve received no official statement from Sony either confirming nor denying the idea. This morning’s announcement however, does include Giamatti’s name among the list of cast members for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which seems to be the first official confirmation that he has signed on. Despite this, the plot synopsis makes no mention of what Giamatti’s role might be in the film (which seems suspicious given Giamatti’s stature as one of Hollywood’s top character actors). Why would Sony Pictures mention Giamatti’s involvement in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 without specifying what he might be doing, unless it hoped to surprise viewers with an unexpected cameo appearance from one of Spider-Man’s most famous rogues?
Also listed in the cast is actor Colm Feore who is no stranger to sci-fi films with a superhero slant, having starred in 2011’s Thor as the King of the Frost Giants, and The Lord Marshall in The Chronicles of Riddick. It’s unknown who Feore will play, but there is an opening for the role of Norman Osborn…
As with its predecessor, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be directed by the appropriately named Marc Webb. It’s scheduled to hit theaters on May 2, 2014. Expect the next 15 months to feature a steadily building deluge of information on the film, of which we’ll be sure to report the most pertinent bits.