Screen Talk: In the Spider's web

Not a shot has been filmed and yet the hype, anticipation and sheer volume of work being generated in Hollywood for Columbia's new Spider-Man movie is already off the scale.

So far Andrew Garfield, the Peter Parker/webslinger actor, has been mobbed for turning up in Los Angeles. Now he's discovered who will play his parents in a reboot that takes the story back to well before the spider bite. Campbell Scott has joined the cast as his Dad, while Julianne Nicholson is in discussions to join as Mum. Parker's parents have rarely been seen in the various Marvel comic-book series, and have never appeared on screen. It is unclear if they will appear in flashbacks, in a prologue or during the course of the movie.

Robert Downey Jr is Next to Normal

In a recent interview Robert Downey Jr (above centre) casually let slip that he once attended theatre camp. Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, the Pulitzer and Tony award-winning composing team behind the musical Next to Normal, evidently took note. Now Downey Jr finds himself attached to star in a musical pitch that Warner Bros have just picked up from the musical duo. The story centres on two Broadway songwriters who find themselves creatively and financially bankrupt when their big-break musical flops. Searching for inspiration, they take jobs as counsellors at the theatre camp they attended as kids and hatch a plan for a big comeback. If Downey Jr does end up committing, the part calls for singing and piano-playing. Of course he has sung in movies before and released an album in 2004.

Special Relativity

It's not a studio, but Relativity Media is one of the biggest players in Hollywood. The production and finance label, set up and run by the onetime venture capitalist Ryan Kavanaugh, is Hollywood's latest movie-making venture and is feted by all those looking on and in. And the empire is growing; Relativity's logo will run in front of a slew of upcoming studio-partnered productions such as Little Fockers, Battle: Los Angeles and Cowboys & Aliens. Now they're doing deals with talent, having nailed a two-year deal with Channing Tatum (above right) and his producing partner Reid Carolin to develop projects at their unnamed production company. The studio's relationship with the actor to date includes the films Dear John, Fighting and the forthcoming Haywire, all of which Tatum starred in.

Cody's literary agent resigns

While screenwriters tend to have a secondary role when it comes to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, there's no doubt that there is a powerful group of writers whose skills are highly prized and highly paid. The glamorous and talented Oscar-winning Diablo Cody (Juno) is one such scribe. So the town was all a-chatter when Cody's literary agent Sarah Self resigned from the Gersh Agency. She is expected to turn up at rival WME and may take other talent such as Geoff LaTulippe, the writer of Going the Distance, with her. Self is good but with her stable of writers, the move is big news.

Happy Sandler

So you think you're popular? Adam Sandler, something of a comedy icon Stateside, always throws a seasonal gathering complete with ice skating, bowling, open bar, food and a performance from Sandler's own band for his friends. This year was no different and Sandler invited 5,000 of his closest to it. And that was the cut-down guest list. Some folks haven't even met that many people, let alone know them to invite them to a party. I guess everything really is bigger in America.