The new version of Spider-Man seems to be picking up the pace on its casting, and the more they cast, the more they’re going with grade A talent. Rhys Ifans – it was just announced via press release – will be playing a yet-to-be-named bad guy in the new film. Ifans was able to make a name for himself with a lead role in the not very good Twin Town with his brother Llyr. That was back when so many British movies were attempting to emulate the crossover success of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, except without the heroin or talent. Rhys was the breakout star of the two, and went on to roles in stuff like The Replacements and Little Nicky. Perhaps his initial experiences in Hollywood weren’t hot, but Ifans continued to work, and Rhys has quietly matured into a fairly great actor. Earlier this year Ifans was amazing in Greenberg; he masterfully underplays it the entire movie. That’s what makes me excited about this casting.
So far the identity of his character is unknown – obviously if this was Batman you’d think Scarecrow, but this makes me think they are going to try and keep his identity under wraps for as long as they can. That’s interesting as we don’t know how much of a reboot this is. I’m all for skipping origin stories, but that’s the framework for almost every single superhero pictures these days. But the thought process is that they could go with a slightly more obscure villain – the Batman Begins approach – to relaunch this thing, because going with the Green Goblin is what the last first film did. Going Goblin would be bold, to say the least. There are rumors of the return of Venom, but that seems an ill fit for Rhys.
Director Marc Webb is coming off (500) Days of Summer, a film that I have mixed feelings for, and the whole idea of a reboot doesn’t so much offend as depress me. The system is way too comfortable selling the exact same thing over and over and over. That said, they’re getting together an interesting cast for this. Fingers crossed.