It’s looking like that spring start for Spider-Man 4 we mentioned last fall may be pushed back. Reports are surfacing that director Sam Raimi and studio Sony are clashing over which of the superheroe’s rogues gallery will feature in the next film.
The Hollywood Reporter is stating that director Sam Raimi is pushing to use the Vulture in the next installment of the franchise, while the studio is not so hot on the choice. Additionally, Sony is pressuring Raimi for a different villain as well as adding the sexy cat burglar Black Cat into the story as a romantic sub-plot. A parade of screenwriters, including James Vanderbilt, David Lindsay-Abaire and Gary Ross, have tried to reach a middle ground that would satisfy everyone to no avail. Currently, Alvin Sargent is working on a draft. The reports confirm rumors that had been circulating for the last several weeks of tension between the studio and Raimi.
If all parties can’t come to a consensus soon, the movie will not be ready to start shooting in March, putting the film’s planned May 11, 2011 release date in jeopardy. Additionally, as many of the key players on both sides of the camera have commitments for after when production was scheduled to end, gathering them back together for a future filming date may prove problematic.
Over the past several months stories have surfaced of various actors and actresses being considered for both the Vulture and Black Cat roles. Looking at those stories now, it appears as if both Raimi’s camp and the studio could have been floating them to gauge fan reaction to their respective visions for the sequel.
If Spider-Man 3 is any indication, I think Sony needs to backdown in this instance. While the film did gross $890 million worldwide in ticket sales, fan reaction was definitely mixed. The inclusion of the villain Venom in that film was at the studio’s insistence and something Raimi has since stated was uneasy about. And watching the film, it is easy to see how the use of Venom throws off the balance of the film, giving short-shrift to other storylines. When left alone, Raimi has shown a clear vision for the Spider-franchise as his first two films in the series attest. Hopefully, Sony will come to their senses and let him be.