By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Exclusive Spider-Man 4 Details
It’s time to end once and for all the rampant speculation. Sony doesn’t want any info to leak, but I’m told that both star Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi will be returning to make Zodiac screenwriter James Vanderbilt’s script of Spider-Man 4. Sony has recently locked in both veterans of Spider-Man 1 through 3 (the lousy last installment fans would love to forget).
Just a few weeks ago Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal was openly discussing Tobey’s potential replacements with various Hollywood agents because Tobey was hanging tough about a deal. “She was looking around to cover herself because Sony wanted him badly and Tobey wasn’t sure he wanted to do it,” an insider explained to me. I’m also told that, right now, the studio is trying to figure out if it can feasibly shoot Spider-Man 4 and 5 at the same time because doing that is so cost-effective and “it wasn’t so easy to get everybody back together.”
There’s no deal yet for Kirsten Dunst, but Mary Jane Watson will be in the movie. I’m told Sony “would never recast her” despite her rehab problems. But expect another gal part, too. Gone is the black costume from Spidey 3, even though “dark” is all the rage in superhero movies, given the enormous success of The Dark Knight. But I’m told the filmmakers won’t be borrowing from the latest Batman installment because “Spider-Man is its own thing,” one studio insider tells me.
“Sam Raimi made the first serious superhero movie, and others followed. The difference between Spider-Man and Batman is that Batman is dueling with a dark side of himself, and that’s not what Peter Parker’s struggle is. Peter Parker has no dark side himself. In Spider-Man 3 it was the black costume. Peter Parker’s struggle is about sacrifice.”
Sony is taking its time officially hiring the movie’s villain, since principal photography doesn’t start on Spider-Man 4 until next fall because of the recently postponed May 2011 release. I am told, however, that “once you find out who the villain is, you’ll know who’s playing it.”
That should lead to speculation that Dylan Baker’s character of Dr. Curt Connors will ultimately turn into the Lizard, as he did in the comic books. There’s one other character that’s been set up but is a real long shot — Daniel Gillies, who plays John Jameson, the astronaut fiancé of Mary Jane in Spider-Man 2. In the comics, he becomes the villain Man-Wolf. Raimi has said that he wants the best actors to play the villains in the movie, not necessarily the most famous.
N.Y. Times’ New Media Desk
It’s Business. It’s Culture. It’s Business. It’s Culture ... Finally, The New York Times is solving its Chinatown-like infotainment dilemma and setting up a dedicated Media desk, physically and symbolically, located between the other two sections on the paper’s third floor.
“This culture clash between Business and Culture for years has annoyed the top of the masthead,” an insider told me, referring to Bill Keller, Jill Abramson and John Geddes. “They think reporters have been working at cross-purposes because there’s nothing clearly defined where a certain kind of media story belongs. Look at our writers strike coverage: half went into Business, half went into Culture.”
The official memo described the beat thusly:
“Convergence is the biggest story in media and entertainment today. Hollywood studios are investing millions in online television, people are reading newspapers on their iPhones and bloggers and YouTube are turning even presidential election campaigns into homegrown affairs. By the end of the decade, we might all be watching Lost on our shoe phones. Accordingly, we are doing some convergence of our own, and today announce the birth of a new and expanded media desk for The Times, joining reporters and editors from Business Day and Culture under one banner to cover media news for both desks. ... It will feed the news needs of both, as well as the feature wells of Sunday Business and Arts & Leisure, among other outlets.”
The real story behind this move is that the paper’s top editors want to shake the staff covering movies, TV, Big Media, advertising and related beats out of what is perceived as a stupor. “The top of the masthead want more media stories. They want newsier reporting, and they want people to work harder,” a source explained to me. “No one has said that, but it’s obvious.” (Certainly to me and the Wall Street Journal.)
The Media editors and reporters announced on Tuesday draw equally from the Business and Culture sections, including movies and television, yet there are some important names missing. Bruce Headlam, currently the editor of the Monday edition of Business Day, will top-edit the Media desk. Underneath him will be editors Rick Lyman and Steve Reddicliffe. The reporters will be Tim Arango, Brooks Barnes, Bill Carter, Michael Cieply, Stephanie Clifford, Stuart Elliott, Richard Perez-Pena, Motoko Rich, Jacques Steinberg, Brian Stelter and Ed Wyatt. Editors and writers alike will answer to both business editor Larry Ingrassia and culture editor Sam Sifton.