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Tobey Maguire's career direction? It's a tangled web

January 12, 2010 |  6:13 pm

Maguire There's been a lot of speculation about who might replace Tobey Maguire as the new Spider-Man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems like a no-brainer). But almost as interesting is what happens to the man who's been playing him.

After all, Sam Raimi will go back to, one can assume (read: hope), the horror/suspense movies of earlier in his career (the rightly lauded "A Simple Plan" and the underrated "The Gift," to name two). (At least we're hoping he does; it's likely he takes on the bigger-budget video-game adaptation "Warcraft" first.) But Maguire poses a trickier question.

He's been associated with -- and in some ways tethered to -- the "Spider-Man" franchise for nearly a decade, and the scrapping of the superhero character opens up a new vein of possibility. The actor recently wrapped production on a dark comedy called "The Details." And of course he can be seen this awards season in the (tepidly reviewed) war movie "Brothers." With his "Spider-Man" days over, does he continue in a more specialized direction or go back to the blockbuster?

There's certainly no shortage of big vehicles he can sign on for. A while back, Sony was working on a sci-fi effects-fest called "Worlds," based on the art-heavy bestselling book by Alec Gillis, that was being developed with Maguire in mind. And there have been rumors of the sci-fi epic "Robotech" and the Guillermo del Toro-directed "The Hobbit." Both would create Spidey-level fandom -- but, also, Spidey-level time commitments ... and not offer nearly as much character nuance.

Several development experts say this is a chance for Maguire to move in a more dramatic direction. One project that's starting to get momentum: "The Limit," the story of rival Grand Prix race-car drivers, which is being developed by Sony and Maguire's own production banner, and also has a nearly completed script. He can also take aim at awards with the civil-rights drama "The Crusaders," which would pair him with hot writer Danny Strong ("Recount") as well as the Oscar-nominated Gary Ross.

The actor has also been ramping up his own Maguire Entertainment, which has such movies as the Nicolas Cage thriller "The Hungry Rabbit Jumps" in production.  In fact, there are plenty of active development projects at his production company. But Maguire has a bit of a DiCaprio-esque reputation: signing on to produce a lot of films as potential starring vehicles but in the end opting not to play in them, So the problem may not be finding the vehicles. It's deciding whether he wants to drive them.

 [Corrected, 4 p.m.: A previous version of this post reported that "The Hungry Rabbit Jumps" was about to start shooting; it is already in production.]

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Tobey Maguire. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (13)

The comments to this entry are closed.

That is truly some of the worst grammar by a journalist I have ever read. Congratulations.

Hello Sony Picture,

You need to put David Archuleta in your list for he fits well with the role as SPIDERMAN. Personality wise he has the same personality as Parker the leading character.

Tobey Maguire should ride the Spider-Man train to the end of the line.No one is looking for him in anything else.I mean so what if you are dubbed as the guy who played Spider-Man.He has made tons of money of being Spider-Man he should go with it.

I would also like to point out that nobody is looking for David Archuleta in anything.

The grammar is terrible. The punctuation is worse. I'm not someone who normally leaves a comment just to criticize the writing, but seriously: parts of this were nearly incomprehensible.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Why not go for someone that actually looks A LITTLE BIT like Peter Parker. They are rebooting to recreate a movie experience more suited to what the serious Spider Man fans want so wouldn't that make sense? David Archuletta would be a poor choice as well. Why should he be chosen because his personality is supposedly similar to Peter Parker's? It's called acting because the actor is becoming someone they aren't for the role. Imagine if casting was done purely based on this line of thinking? It'd be like Ludacris playing a rapper in Hustle & Flow... Oh wow! Impressive 'acting'!

I'm sorry, and if I've missed something, please forgive this post but: What film has Toby Maguire ever opened big OTHER than a Spiderman film?
Seriously.
I realize he's a good actor, but his leading man liabilities are many:
He's pretty short.
He's not all that striking in the looks department.
He's not incredibly charismatic or hunky.
He's mostly played "boys" not men.
So...
What is his corner of the market except to play Spiderman?
His decision to exit the series baffles me, but I wish him luck.

@ Jake: he didn't choose to exit the series, the studio decided to scrap the idea of spiderman 4 and reboot the series

Have we all forgotten Seabiscuit, Cider House Rules? He has chops and the potential to be great. Spiderman undoubtedly was fun but its time to exercise the talent he has.

There is only one person who could replace Toby as Spider-man.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
....end of story !

What about that kid that played Seth Cohen on the OC years ago!

@Matt Cooper: You're absolutely right. This guy is a hack.

For crying out loud, I am getting a little tired of these woe is me stories from celebrities who get a 4-5 figure compensation just for visiting an establishment. I am sure Toby has many sleepless nights figuring out what he is going to do with his life. I suggest he just retire with all the money he has made off his winnings for all these years. Sorry if I don't have alot sympathies for people who have 'ins' with the establishment, when everyone else is on the outside looking in.

omg. he's a talented actor, he is particular about what roles he chooses. he was that way before spider-man and i'm sure he is still the same. he will do fine. imo spider-man didn't MAKE him, he MADE spider-man.


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