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Tobey out as Spidey?!

03.18.2003

In casting news that can be described as nothing less than absolutely shocking, Jake Gyllenhaal (MOONLIGHT MILE) may replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Word began to circulate around Hollywood this weekend that Maguire might not return with rumored reasons being anywhere from a salary dispute to an injured back. Reportedly "waiting in the wings" is actor Gyllenhaal who was one of the original top candidates when the first SPIDER-MAN was casting.

Maguire's spokeswoman confirmed the reported back problems in a statement that said, "After doing two physically demanding films in a row, Tobey has experienced mild discomfort in his back, which is in the final stages of healing." She added, "With an April 12 start date around the corner, everyone involved wants to be certain he is able to do the intense stunts (of SPIDER-MAN 2)." Maguire wrapped production on SEABISCUIT this February where he played the jockey to the titular horse. Prior to that he starred as the famed webslinger. Both Sony/Columbia and Maguire's representatives refuted the claims saying the actor is still on-board. Meanwhile Gyllenhaal's agent at CAA denies his client has been offered the part.

Gyllenhaal's name has been mentioned along with SPIDER-MAN 2 before, rumored to be starring as Peter Parker's pal Cletus Cassidy, who would go on to become the villainous Carnage who, as rumor had it, would be the centerpiece of the third film. Replacing Maguire with Gyllenhaal would greatly reduce the amount of money Sony would have to put forth as the former was expected to bring in $17.5 million for the sequel. While a rising star, Gyllenhaal wouldn't command nearly as much.

While money and health may be factors, so also is time. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is set for a May 7, 2004 release, already a tight schedule. Waiting for Maguire to rehab wouldn't be an option because of commitments co-star Kirsten Dunst has. The actress will segue directly from SPIDER-MAN to WIMBLEDON, which will have to shoot during the tennis tournament in late June, early July. Filming afterwards would make a summer 2004 release an impossibility.

In closing, I feel that originally Gyllenhaal would have made an equally as good Spidey than Maguire. They both have that geeky-yet-cool quality about them. But as a replacement? The millions upon million of people who saw SPIDER-MAN are used to seeing Maguire in tights. How will they react to a new actor? I think it's an unfortunate decision but probably not the end of the world. As Variety pointed out, it couldn't hurt that Gyllenhaal is dating Dunst. On the other hand, I can't believe that something like a mildly sore back would keep Maguire out of this movie. How many stunts does he really need to perform considering he's in costume a lot of the time and the rest it's a completely CGI-character? Should make for an interesting week-or-so as this all comes together...

Source: Variety
Tags: Hollywood

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