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'Spider-Man' will spin a Webb

January 19, 2010 |  5:29 pm


New York Magazine’s Vulture blog says that “(500) Days of Summer” director Marc Webb  is now officially the director of Sony's "Spider -Man" reboot.

The Vulture item, which moves forward a story from Deadline New York’s Mike Fleming last week that had Webb sitting atop the studio’s list, reports that the director is actually signing on for three movies, with the rebooted franchise focusing on the "private life of Peter Parker." The studio confirmed that Webb had been hired but mentioned only one picture, with Sony co-chair Amy Pascal and Columbia Pictures president Matt Tolmach saying they had sought -- and, in their view, found -- a director who could "capture the awe of being in Peter’s shoes."

As Vulture reminds, Webb was already a favored son at Sony, narrowly losing out (to Bennett Miller) the gig to direct the studio’s “Moneyball” (though the story attributes it to Sony chief Amy Pascal worrying about Webb's whimsical style; we’d heard that star Brad Pitt was a little more keen on Miller, who had directed the star of his last movie, Philip Seymour Hoffman, to Oscar gold).

Webb is also attached to a remake of “Jesus Christ Superstar" at Universal. Producer Marc Platt told us last week that there was still a possibility Webb could direct “Superstar,” though with this news that’s pretty much out the window; three superhero movies can tie you up for a while. Webb also has an apocalypse-themed project called “Age of Rage” at Fox Searchlight. It's safe to assume that one’s been backburnered too.

Frontburnered, however, will be the rumors/hopes that “(500) Days” star Joseph Gordon-Levitt could end up as “Spider-Man," though, as natural as that would seem in some ways, the phrases “28-year-old actor” and “high-school protagonist" may mesh like water and black goo.

Perhaps the bigger question is what kind of "Spider-Man" Webb will direct (and more important, what kind of movie the studio wants). The fan-boy skepticism will be that, while Webb may be able to adroitly depict the mind of the troubled young male, he has little track record with big action scenes. But unless you’re bringing in a high-priced hired gun, director hires on many superhero movies involve a jump of some kind – Sam Raimi himself made a switch from the lower-budget horror/comedy realm. And Webb is a music-video guy, which means he should bring the flash; he isn’t all Regina Spektor and Morrissey shoe-gazing.

That said, the prospect of Peter Parker dancing around to Hall & Oates after he’s consummated his love with Mary Jane Watson is kind of a fun idea to contemplate.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) and Marc Webb. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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