Hollywood gossip columnist Nikki Finke reports that Sony Pictures has locked in director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire for Spider-Man 4.
According to Finke, Kirsten Dunst hasn’t been signed, “but Mary Jane Watson will be featured.”
If we’re to believe Finke, Sony would like to film the fourth and fifth installments of Spider-Man next fall to cut costs and accommodate schedules.
The Spider-Man 4 script, by Zodiac screenwriter Jamie Vanderbilt, reportedly will lose the black duds, and avoid the darker tone so many seem determined to adopt after the success of The Dark Knight.
Update: Variety‘s Tom McLean writes that, “given Raimi’s preference for Silver Age stuff,” The Lizard seems the likely villain for the fourth movie.
That would fall in line with what Finke writes: “I am told, however, that ‘once you find out who the villain is, you’ll know who’s playing it.’” Actor Dylan Baker appeared as Dr. Curt Connors in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3.
Update 2 (9:40 p.m.): The Hollywood Reporter weighs in with word that Raimi and Maguire “are said to be close to locking in a deal to return for the fourth and fifth installments.”
The trade paper also updates movement on the planned Venom spinoff, first reported in July. Sony has brought in screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Zombieland) to take a crack at Jacob Estes’ draft.