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Among the Oscar-related slights perpetrated against last year’s The Descendents (which include a lack of gold for Best Picture and star George Clooney), was what many considered a full-fledged snub of female lead Shailene Woodley.
Well, despite the Academy’s oversight, it appears Sony has taken notice of her talent, as Variety reports the studio is in talks with the 20-year-old for the role of Mary Jane Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
It’s interesting to hear that the studio is already prepping for another female lead (or will she?) to enter the series, though far from a surprise considering the status of the Mary Jane character (I’m sure you can recall a one Ms. Kirsten Dunst's portrayal in Sam Raimi’s trilogy). Many viewers felt the sense of déjà vu that accompanied The Amazing Spider-Man (myself included) with having the series rebooted so quickly after the last wrapped, even with a fresh lead in the form of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone as the precocious blond bombshell Gwen Stacy and acclaimed indie director Marc Webb.
Now that Sony has gotten all the perfunctory origin tale stuff out of the way, it seems keen to head back to what fans know and love (without the overtly repetitive remake aspect that accompanied this summer’s blockbuster). Casting Mary Jane with Gwen Stacy still in the picture means we have potentially two lovely ladies from the comics vying for the heart of New York’s web-slinger. There could be a setup in the works for the inevitably tragic, life-altering death of Stacy (as per the source material), a fate that Stone has already addressed in a past interview.
Woodley is a strong choice for two key reasons. First, and most importantly, she has proven both her comedic and dramatic chops through her feature film and small screen efforts (she stars in ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager), and secondly, she has not been overexposed, meaning the majority of the public doesn’t know her as another famous character, which was also the case with Garfield and Stone.
In a number of ways, Webb (who has been confirmed to return for the sequel) has upgraded the cast of the original trilogy in most regards. Not to slag the performances of Tobey Maguire and Dunst in any way, but despite the shortcomings of The Amazing Spider-Man, the acting was always a saving grace and Woodley should help even further in that regard.
The only thing more exciting than casting the lead players in a comic book film is revealing the villain, and though nothing is confirmed, there have been rumblings that the baddie in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be Maxwell Dillon, a.k.a. Electro. His mask may look silly, but I'm sure you won't be laughing when the volts come flying.
Electro is a lightning-powered villain who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #9 in February 1964. This particular nemesis of Spider-Man gained his powers after being accidently electrocuted while working on a power line, giving him the ability to manipulate electricity. He was voted as one of the greatest comic book villains of all time by IGN. We wouldn't leave out the possibility of Norman Osborn's involvement in the film based on the setup in the post-credits scene, but Electro could still figure prominently.
So there you have it, things are moving along quite nicely for this superhero sequel, due in theaters May 2, 2014.