With all the awards campaigning and holiday shopping, I bet you almost forgot that Sam Raimi and Co. were still trying to cast Spider-Man 4. Well things are beginning to heat up today as Movieline reports that the studio "is circling" John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway for roles in the fourth installment. But before we get to Hathaway (whose name has already been tossed around in relation to this film), if he signs on Malkovich (who'd make a terrific villain by the way) would play The Vulture, aka Adrian Toomes, a businessman who creates a special harness that not only allows him to fly, but also gives him enhanced strength. He's been described as a strong fighter and a remorseless killer.

Meanwhile, Hathaway is a whole different can of worms. While she'd definitely be playing Felicia Hardy (as previously rumored), this particular version of Hardy wouldn't be Black Cat. Instead, according to Movieline, they've created an entirely different character for her called The Vulturess, perhaps to get away from all the Catwoman comparisons. We have no idea what The Vultress does, but we imagine she'd team up and help out The Vulture in some capacity.

As far as Dylan Baker's Lizard goes, sadly producers don't seem to want to go that route -- either because the villain is too "odd-looking" for the studio (as Movieline reports) or because Baker isn't a big enough name to throw on the marquee (which is what some have suggested in the past) ... or both. It's important to note that all of this is speculation and rumor until it's officially confirmed. Spider-Man 4 hits theaters on May 6, 2011.

So what do you think?