EXCLUSIVE: In the wake of the massive opening of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, it’s no surprise that the audition process everybody’s talking about is the selection of a director for the next iteration of Sony Pictures’ live-action Spider-Man franchise, the first one that teams rights holder Sony Pictures with Marvel Studios genius Kevin Feige (after Ultron became Marvel’s ninth straight hit, is that designation overstatement?)
There are all kinds of rumors raging about the wall crawler, including that Feige and his producing accomplice Amy Pascal are planning an arc that will tell the Spidey story over three to four movies, each covering a year of high school for Peter Parker, who’ll already have been bitten by the radioactive spider so we don’t have to see that all over again. The tone they are searching for in the coming of age tale is John Hughes humor and emotion, plus all the superhero stuff.
Here are the filmmakers I’m told are seriously in the mix right now. Don’t take this as being all inclusive, but it sounds like things are moving quickly and they could make a decision by the end of next week and make a final choice with studio chief Tom Rothman. There is 50/50 and Warm Bodies writer/helmer Jonathan Levine; Ted Melfi, writer/director of Golden Globe-nommed St. Vincent; Pitch Perfect helmer Jason Moore; John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein, the directors/writers of the updated version of John Hughes’ Vacation; and Napoleon Dynamite and Don Verdean writer/director Jared Hess.
There is a separate simultaneous search going on for a new young actor to play Peter Parker. That role might be cast before a director and writers are set because the character is expected to show up in the next Marvel movie, Captain America: Civil War, which is being directed by Joe and Anthony Russo before they take over The Avengers franchise. Tell you more when I know it.