http://chud.com/nextraimages/jamescromwell.jpgJames Cromwell has joined the cast of Spider-Man 3 as Captain Stacy, Gwen’s doomed cop father. Doomed in the comics, at any rate – what happens to him in the movie is up for grabs.

As is much else. Last week Rich Johnston’s semi-reliable comics gossip column Lying in the Gutters revealed that Theresa Russell was playing the Black Cat in the movie, before changing his tune to say that she is playing the mother of the Black Cat. Somehow this led to speculation that Gwen Stacy, being played by Bryce Dallas Howard, would be the Cat. It seems unlikely, but possible, I guess – Russell could be Captain Stacy’s ex, now getting it on with Sandman. It sounds overly complicated.

Also sounding overly complicated are the claims of “Marcus Howard The Costume Guy,” who has a blog where he says he’s working as Topher Grace’s “Costume Assistance,” and where he claims Spidey and Venom will be going head to head in black costumes:

“We are working on tobey’s black ‘symbiote’ costume, which is refered to as ‘SYMBIOTE#01′ because the second version will be worn by Mr Grace. The second version is more advance and we are considering to use motion capture technology, i believe that this would accompany the CGI that was done in the first spider-man movie as i have been told. However you should not expect Venom to be wearing a costume as such because their isn’t any, we are considering that he would be wearing a green suit, so that with the CG the ‘SYMBIOTE#02′ design can be overlayed on him. Sony has spent billions apparently over the years on the whole franchise, but with new developing technology such as pixar’s renderman, the job is getting easily done. The fight scenes between tobey and mr grace are also something which we (well them) are looking at, the script is complete and their will be a huge fight which involves tobey getting his portion of the suit (SYMBIOTE#01) completely weakened by the more stronger suit worn by mr grace (SYMBIOTE #02).”

Meanwhile, someone else out there is claiming Grace isn’t playing Venom at all, but rather Electro. Here’s what this guy has to say to Counting Down:

“Grace is playing the blonde, ambitious billionaire Maxwell Dillion in Spider-Man 3. If you want a good idea of how the character is being portrayed, watch the Fantastic Four. He is a dark and moody character like Von Doom. Dillion is in poor health because of a rare blood disease so he has to take these antigens which come into play later. harry Osborne hires Marko Flint as a so called hired hand. I was told how Electro transforms. The Sandman comes into the movie already with his "Special Ability" and it is said how he got them through a flashback scene, thanks to OsCorp. Dillion is turned when The Sandman is fighting with Spidey near a super conductor transformer type thing, thats the best way I can describe it from the info i was told, and Dillion is knocked into it, causing a large explosion. The electricity reacts with his antigens and gives him the powers you see in the comics, including the ability to throw electric type Boomerangs, glide on a type of cloud of electricity, and to just use the blasts of electricity also. After this, Electro as he is referred to now, or Sparky by Spider-Man, which he actually uses in the movie a few times, blames both The Sandman and Spider-Man for what has happen to him. Even though he no longer needs his anitgens, he must now feed on sources of electricity to survive. Electro is introduced in what seems like the first half hour of the movie and spends the rest of the movie trying to kill both Sandman and Spidey.”

Read the rest – essentially the “plot” of the whole movie, if this character is to be believed (which he almost certainly isn’t) – right here.

Kudos to Sam Raimi and company for keeping us talking about this movie in advance. It’s been a while since I have seen so many competing – and incompatible – rumors about a movie floating around.