During all the push and pull between director Sam Raimi and Sony Pictures, Spider-Man 4, like a frightened child, has been caught in the middle. Now it's looking like the movie is officially going to get the heave-ho from its cherished spot in May of 2011.
Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood has reported that all is not well with Spidey. It turns out there are "story issues" with the script that Raimi feels need to be dealt with before the production goes forward:
...Raimi and Sony are anxiously waiting for still another version from screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who wrote Spidey 2 & 3 and is married to Spidey franchise producer Laura Ziskind. "It is unlikely that May 11, 2011, date will be made," a Sony insider just told me today. "It depends on how quickly the script can get in." However, agents have told clients in the movie to already expect the film to be pushed back.
Furthermore, it appears that Anne Hathaway is out as the Vulture's daughter, though Raimi is still pushing for John Malkovich to play the Vulture. Which is unfortunate, as it seems Raimi is the only person who really wants to see that villain in the next Spider-Man film. Sony is right to fight him on that issue.
More importantly, it seems as if Spider-Man 4 is going to go the way of many big studio franchises, which is to say that it's very possible part four will be in 3D. Finke states that, "As for those repeated rumors that Spider-Man 4 will and won't shoot in 3D, I've got to figure that's uppermost on Sony minds given the post-Avatar climate. Back in April, Sony Pictures' co-chairmen Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton told Forbes magazine they were considering making the 4th Spider-Man in 3D."
One way or another, it looks like Spider-Man 4 is going to continue to get pushed back until Raimi, Sony, Sargent, and everyone else figures out the story and script. Usually when a movie goes through many screenwriters (this one's gone through Jamie Vanderbilt, David Lindsay-Abaire, and Gary Ross) before shooting starts, it's because the idea for the film is muddled and the final result reflects this. Anyone have a big enough memory to remember Alien Resurrection?
At this point, Raimi and Sony need to make sure that this film is much, much better than part three. It seems like that would be an easy enough task, what with how terrible Spider-Man 3 was, but with villains like the Vulture...well, let's just keep our fingers crossed.
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