There’s been a lot of speculation about who might replace Tobey Maguire as the new Spider-Man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems like a no-brainer). But almost as interesting is what happens to the man who’s been playing him.
After all, Sam Raimi will go back to, one can assume (read: hope), the horror/suspense movies of earlier in his career (the rightly lauded “A Simple Plan” and the underrated “The Gift,” to name two). (At least we’re hoping he does; it’s likely he takes on the bigger-budget video-game adaptation “Warcraft” first.) But Maguire poses a trickier question.
He’s been associated with — and in some ways tethered to — the “Spider-Man” franchise for nearly a decade, and the scrapping of the superhero character opens up a new vein of possibility. The actor recently wrapped production on a dark comedy called “The Details.” And of course he can be seen this awards season in the (tepidly reviewed) war movie “Brothers.” With his “Spider-Man” days over, does he continue in a more specialized direction or go back to the blockbuster?
There’s certainly no shortage of big vehicles he can sign on for. A while back, Sony was working on a sci-fi effects-fest called “Worlds,” based on the art-heavy bestselling book by Alec Gillis, that was being developed with Maguire in mind. And there have been rumors of the sci-fi epic “Robotech” and the Guillermo del Toro-directed “The Hobbit.” Both would create Spidey-level fandom — but, also, Spidey-level time commitments … and not offer nearly as much character nuance.
Several development experts say this is a chance for Maguire to move in a more dramatic direction. One project that’s starting to get momentum: “The Limit,” the story of rival Grand Prix race-car drivers, which is being developed by Sony and Maguire’s own production banner, and also has a nearly completed script. He can also take aim at awards with the civil-rights drama “The Crusaders,” which would pair him with hot writer Danny Strong (”Recount”) as well as the Oscar-nominated Gary Ross.
The actor has also been ramping up his own Maguire Entertainment, which has such movies as the Nicolas Cage thriller “The Hungry Rabbit Jumps” on the brink of production. In fact, there are plenty of active development projects at his production company. But Maguire has a bit of a DiCaprio-esque reputation: signing on to produce a lot of films as potential starring vehicles but in the end opting not to play in them, So the problem may not be finding the vehicles. It’s deciding whether he wants to drive them.