Posted by: Joe Eds | May 27, 2010

Who needs a star?

When you got Spiderman?  This LA Times article by film industry insider Patrick Goldstein brings up the latest casting rumors on the upcoming Spiderman reboot movie – that won’t be starring Tobey Maguire or be directed by Sam Raimi – that will cover Spiderman’s very early years. In short, you haven’t heard of any of the contenders. And if you have, you are in a very small group. You could argue that Maguire wasn’t a star when he was cast back in 2000. True, but he had been the lead in Wonderboys, The Cider House Rules and Pleasantville. So he’d certainly had some leading man experience. Goldstein argues that this is the future. That the old school “movie star formula” is dying out.

Jeff and I have recorded a podcast on this very topic and hopefully will be posting it soon. We agree with Goldstein, for the most part, that the intellectual property has eclipsed the so-called “name brand” stars. Most lead actors / actresses in large franchise movies are not really the reason for their enormous box office successes. However, that “most” makes a big difference. Iron Man is not Iron Man without Robert Downey Jr. Imagine that movie with Eric Bana in the lead – or don’t, but you get my point. We will expand more on this subject when the podcast is posted.

But I do need to chime in and say that Spiderman, and other super-famous comic book characters, are a little different. Those genres were never particularly flooded with big stars in the lead. You cast the stars as the villains. Hence Gene Hackman in Superman, Jack Nicholson in Batman, Jim Carrey / Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever.

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