We know that Spider-Man 4 is very close to happening, and after Nikki Finke’s recent report we’ve had a pretty good idea that the film might be shot back to back with a fifth film.

Now the Times Online is reporting that Tobey Maguire has conned talked Sony into a $50m deal to make the two films back to back over six months. The kicker is that he won’t have to work early mornings or late evenings so he can spend more time with his toddler, Ruby Sweetheart. Which is the cue for all manner of jackasses to talk about what a demanding prick the guy is, but what the hell do they know? I can’t imagine being in Maguire’s shoes and not demanding exactly what you want, and Sony obviously figures this is a reasonable deal regardless of the terms. And as long as the production is well-run, those restrictions on time limits should pose no problem at all. I only imagine that the A.D. staff will fuck with him a bit, as his hours will look like a child actor’s.

Questions about the films — big ones — linger. Where’s the script, and what’s it about? Will the two films tie closely together, or will they be more or less standalone stories that just take advantage of a common production schedule? We should know soon whether or not Kirsten Dunst will reprise her role as Mary Jane Watson later this week, though in truth I don’t really care one way or the other.