spiderman21EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s Columbia Pictures is getting closer to finding its new Spider-Man. I On Friday, studio decision-makers viewed the screen tests of most of the young actors they are seriously considering to play Peter Parker in the Marc Webb-directed relaunch of Spider-Man.

I’m told that nobody has won the job yet. It is possible that more candidates will be added. But there is a strong list of actors who screen tested, and most likely the new Peter Parker is among them. I’m told that the candidates whose screen tests were viewed Friday are:  Jamie Bell (the Billy Elliot star who wrapped the Kevin Macdonald-directed The Eagle of the Ninth) , Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin, Kick-Ass’s Aaron Johnson, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) and Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro). Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) and Michael Angerano (Lords of Dogtown) are also in the final list that the studio is working from. I’m not sure if Angarano tested. I’ve heard Dillane decided not to because he is likely headed to attend drama school at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

The studio wants to lock in its superhero soon, so that supporting roles can be cast around him. Production will begin before the year ends and the film has locked a July 3, 2012 release. The script by Jamie Vanderbilt is still being worked on, and (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb is gearing up for a 3D shoot.

The prep time is useful for Webb, who has no experience in blockbuster or 3D fare. Despite this, the studio and producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad sparked to him because (500) Days of Summer convinced them Webb could relate how a young Peter Parker would think and feel, coming to grips with his enormous power while dealing with the usual teenage dilemmas.  This was considered as important as the action sequences. Webb emerged as the choice shortly after Sony scrapped plans for a fourth installment of Spider-Man with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire. When Raimi decided not to go forward, the studio turned to a script that Vanderbilt wrote for the Raimi-Maguire franchise. Raimi didn’t love, but Sony did, and the studio used that as the catalyst to re-launch the franchise. The studio had no comment.