By Michael Lynderey
July 12, 2010
Those who follow comic book movies must have been in nirvana these last two weeks, with comic-to-film adaptation news revving up daily - and just in time for the ever-approaching (and increasingly more intimidating) Comic-Con.
Indeed, the big casting bombshell of late (Andrew Garfield = Spider-Man) was dropped rather unexpectedly on the evening of Thursday, July 1st, without nary a hint or warning to signal its arrival. And, having followed the Spider-Man reboot casting this year as closely as I did John McCain's vice presidential selection process back in 2008, I can say that the two announcements had at least one thing in common: no matter how many clues you thought you had deciphered, how many articles of analysis you pored over, how much Internet speculation you ingested, or how many rumors you evaluated in search for the answer - you could not have guessed what the final selection would be. In short, both Sarah Palin in 2008 and Garfield in 2010 - whatever their differences may be (for surely they must have some) - proved that more often than not, speculation on such things is a complete and absolute and total waste of time.
The selection of 26-year-old Garfield, the oldest candidate in the mix, may have seemed random - but it does make a certain amount of hindsight-only sense, especially if the new Spidey movie's setting is college rather than the aforementioned high school (and that's the rumor now). American-British Garfield (ain't dual citizenship a blast?) doesn't have that much wide release experience, save for some verbal sparring with Robert Redford in Lions for Lambs, but he's got a lot of credibility as an actor - if that's worth anything - having headlined the critically gushed-over British films Boy A and Red Riding (coincidentally, both of these have the same background - they premiered on English TV before going on to scattered theatrical releases in the U.S.).
The Garfield selection came almost exactly ten years after Tobey Maguire was picked to play Spider-Man, Volume 1. Monday, July 31, 2000 is when that news nugget broke, with Maguire reportedly besting a rogues gallery as diverse as Wes Bentley (then just months after American Beauty), Heath Ledger (of the newly-released The Patriot), and even Freddie Prinze Jr., basking in the glory of his romantic comedy saturation days (Jude Law, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ewan McGregor are some of the less believable candidates bantered about in 2000-era news reports). Anyway, re-casting the rest of the Spider pack ought to keep things interesting for the next few months (filming doesn't start until December).
Right now, though, the comparatively less exciting but more frequently-arriving news bits are coming from X-Men: First Class, where most of the action is at the moment (and no wonder - the movie's got to make that June 3, 2011 release date). There are a lot of rumors and innuendo about who is playing what, but some names are certain - James McAvoy as Professor X, the increasingly (and predictably) prolific Michael Fassbender as Magneto, and out-of-everyone's-league Alice Eve as Emma Frost. Beast (Kelsey Grammer in X-Men 3) was to have been played by stage actor Benjamin Walker, with the role ending up uncast and then cast again with English actor Nicholas Hoult. Caleb Landry Jones, the token American in the bunch, will play the sonic scream-inducing Banshee. And no, I'm not familiar with most of these characters, either.