British actor tasked with rebooting 'Spider-Man'

Two years ago, a young British actor called Andrew Garfield gave an interview to this newspaper in which he was asked about a string of plaudits that had seen him included in Variety's prestigious list of future Hollywood stars. "Well, whatever," he replied. "I'm only 24, so who knows...I resent it when someone tells me 'this is your time'." Today, even Garfield will find it hard to deny that that time is now.

The makers of Spider-Man, one of the film industry's most valuable and high-profile properties, have named him as the next incarnation of the web-spinning superhero and his emotionally-fragile alter ego, Peter Parker.

His debut, a 3D "reboot" which will focus on Spider-Man's early years, goes into production in December and is due to hit cinemas early in 2012, according to its director, Marc Webb, who announced the news at a press event in Mexico on Thursday afternoon.

"Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor's work understand his extraordinary talents," Mr Webb said. "Andrew Garfield has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love him as Peter Parker."

The choice of Garfield came as a shock to fans. Since January, when the former Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire, announced he was hanging up his spandex suit, speculation was rife that Sony, the studio behind the franchise, would sign up a high-profile replacement.

In Hollywood circles, Garfield's coronation is less of a surprise, however. He has been hoovering up critical plaudits for most of the past four years.

Brought up in Surrey by a British mother and an American father, Garfield trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

His stage debut won the Evening Standard award for Best Newcomer in 2006. Two years later, having moved into TV, he netted a Bafta for Boy A, in which he played a former child murderer haunted by his past. He has subsequently appeared in acclaimed TV dramas such as Channel Four's Red Riding.

Garfield's film career took off with roles in Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, and Robert Redford and Tom Cruise's Afghanistan war film Lions for Lambs. Later this year, he hits our screens in The Social Network, David Fincher's eagerly-awaited film about the creation of Facebook.

Executives at Sony are said to have chosen Garfield out of an eight-strong shortlist, including the former Billy Elliot star, Jamie Bell, who went through a four-month audition process. Amy Pascal, the co-chairman of the studio, said yesterday that Garfield's performance in a screen test had been "glorious" and "floored all of us".

By selecting a relative unknown the studio is sticking to a recent trend by which an increasing number of major "tent-pole" films have been marketed to fans as "concept" movies rather than old-fashioned star vehicles.

They are also making a canny financial move. While an established star could expect to be paid as much as $20m to headline a major movie franchise, Garfield's up-front wage is rumoured to be a more modest $500,000 (£330,000). He will receive $1m if he makes a second appearance as Spider-Man, and $2m should he manage a third.

The three recent Spider-Man films have made a combined total of more than $2.5bn at the box office. Sam Raimi, the director behind them, quit in December, followed by Maguire and the female lead, Kirsten Dunst. Mr Raimi was apparently unwilling to accept both the script and the conditions being foisted upon him by Sony, who wanted to make the "rebooted" film for $230m. He said he would need at least $300m.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor