The wait is over. Sony Pictures has finally announced, via its Twitter feed (@sonypictures), that American actor Andrew Garfield will take over for Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in the rebooted Spider-Man movie due out on July 3rd 2012.
With such a specific date in mind for the Marc Webb-directed relaunch, the web has been abuzz with casting stories recently, with actors including Jamie Bell (Jumper), Josh Hutcherson (Cirque du Freak), Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) and Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson) mooted for the part. Garfield represents a fairly leftfield choice for the studio – one perhaps motivated by price – as the 26 year-old has to date stuck with interesting, but relatively small fare.
The US-born actor moved to the UK early in life and made his name in the British film industry. He played alongside Heath Ledger in his final performance in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and starred in all three of the acclaimed Red Riding trilogy films. He broke through in John Crowley's Boy A, released just three years ago.
This year he's picked up a pair of great and more international roles, in David Fincher's The Social Network and Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go, alongside Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan.
Webb, who directed the critically-acclaimed (500) Days of Summer will now set to work casting key supporting roles around Garfield, so we can expect plenty more casting speculation in the weeks and months to come. The script, penned by Jamie Vanderbilt, is currently being written. Production will begin this December.
Two years tomorrow we'll have found out whether Garfield's casting has paid off, but if his reputation for picking interesting roles and doing a good job in them is reflective of what's in store, it should be an interesting journey to cinemas.
What do you think of the casting of Garfield? Sound off below.
You can read Sony's full press release below ...
After a comprehensive worldwide casting search, Andrew Garfield has been chosen to portray Peter Parker when Spider-Man swings back onto the screen in 3D on July 3, 2012. The new film will begin production in early December directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt. Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad will produce the film from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.
Today's confirmation culminates what has been one of the most eagerly anticipated casting announcements in recent memory. Bloggers, pop culture speculators, and everyday fans have pored over and analyzed every conceivable online rumor in an attempt to discover the identity of the next actor to play Peter Parker. Garfield will immediately begin preparing for the coveted role.
The Spider-Man franchise is one of the most successful in film history and the three previous motion pictures have collectively grossed more than $2.5 billion in worldwide box office.
On selecting Garfield, director Marc Webb said, "Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor's work understand his extraordinary talents. He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker."
Commenting on the announcement, Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, President of Columbia Pictures said, "Spider-Man is a classic superhero -- a young man who balances his responsibility to serve humanity and crush evil with the shyness and normalcy of someone struggling to find himself. The role demands an extraordinary actor. You need someone who can magically transform himself from Peter Parker into Spider-Man. An actor who will depict the vulnerability of youth and the strength and confidence of a legendary figure at the same moment. We have found that actor in Andrew Garfield. From the first time we saw him in the upcoming film The Social Network, to his glorious screen test, which floored all of us, we knew that we had found our new Peter Parker."
Producer Avi Arad added, "I'm incredibly excited about Andrew Garfield. In the Spider-Man tradition, we were looking for a smart, sensitive, and cool new Peter Parker who can inspire us and make us laugh, cry, and cheer. We believe we have found the perfect choice to take on this role and lead us into the future."
Producer Laura Ziskin said, "We are thrilled to have Andrew Garfield for this new incarnation of Spider-Man under Marc Webb's direction. We were fortunate enough to meet with a group of fantastically talented young men. In the end, we all agreed that in addition to being an extraordinary actor, Andrew had the right mix of humor, youth, and pathos, along with an underlying sense of strength and power necessary to bring Peter Parker and Spider-Man to life on screen."
The selection of Garfield was revealed at a press event in Cancun, Mexico for international journalists attending a media tour promoting upcoming films from Sony Pictures Entertainment. B-roll footage of the announcement will be available via satellite later this evening -- see uplink times coordinate information below.
Garfield is fast becoming one of the most respected and sought-after young actors working in the industry today. In a short career, spanning only five years, he has already been directed by, and starred alongside, some of the greatest names and received a BAFTA for a role that won him international praise.
Garfield most recently worked with director David Fincher on the upcoming film The Social Network. He previously starred for Spike Jonze on his robot love story I'm Here, which premiered at Sundance this year. He plays the lead male opposite Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan in Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go, due for release later this year.
Other notable screen credits include Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus playing opposite Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law and the late Heath Ledger, Robert Redford's Lions For Lambs, where he starred alongside Redford, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep; Revolution Films' "Red Riding Trilogy – 1974" directed by Julian Jarrold, where he lead a stellar cast including Rebecca Hall and David Morrissey, and his unforgettable portrayal of a young ex-con in John Crowley's "Boy A," for which he earned the best actor BAFTA in 2008.
Garfield's career began in theatre and in 2006 his performances in "Beautiful Thing" (Sound Space/Kit Productions), "The Overwhelming," and "Burn / Chatroom / Citizenship" (Royal National Theatre) won him the Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard awards and the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the Critics Circle Theatre Awards. Other notable theatre credits include "Romeo and Juliet" (Manchester Royal Exchange) and "Kes" (Manchester Royal Exchange), for which he received the Most Promising Newcomer Award at the Manchester Evening News Awards 2004.