The Amazing Spider-Man was in the news twice recently as yet another delay was announced for the mammoth Broadway musical production, and the first picture of Andrew Garfield, the actor chosen to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the reboot of the movie franchise, was released.
The Spider-Man film series was set to have a fourth entry debuting in 2011, but when director Sam Raimi withdrew from the project, it was decided by Columbia Pictures, the movie studio holding the film rights to the famous wallcrawler, to reboot the series instead. The first entry in the new series, once again titled Spider-Man will swing into theaters in 3D on July 3, 2012, a scant ten years after the first film in the original series.
Besides Garfield, 27, who was seen last year in David Fincher's critcially-acclaimed The Social Network, the cast includes Emma Stone, 22, as Gwen Stacy (Peter Parker's girlfriend in the comics before he met Mary Jane), Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben Parker, Sally Field as Aunt May Parker, Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy, and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, who will be the villain of the piece along with Nels Van Adder (known in comics as the "Proto-Goblin"), who will be played by Irrfan Khan. The new film will once again have Peter Parker develop his spider-powers while still a high school student as it happened in the original 1962 comic book.
It has been widely speculated that the storyline for the new Spider-Man series of movies will use the comic book series, Ultimate Spider-Man – itself a rebooted take on the classic Spider-Man – launched by Marvel Comics in 2000, as source material. Mark Webb, a former music video director, with only one feature film credit to his name – 2009's (500) Days of Summer, has been slated to direct from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent. Vanderbilt had co-written the screenplay for last summer's The Losers, while Sargent has written or co-written the screenplays for all three previous Spider-Man movies.
3000 miles away from the Hollywood production of the new Spider-Man film, the Broadway version of the wall-crawling arachnid is having yet more problems. It has just been announced that the musical production – the most expensive in Broadway history at $65 million – will once again be delayed. Opening night for Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark has been pushed back from February 7 to March 15. Preview performances for Tuesday January 18 and 25 have also been canceled, although it does remain in previews at Manhattan's Foxwoods Theatre otherwise.
Beyond the ever-escalating cost of the production, the show has been plagued by numerous accidents and delays. No less than four cast members have been injured in the show including, most recently, Spider-Man stunt double, Christopher Tierney, after he fell 20 to 30 feet from the stage into the orchestra pit and suffered numerous breaks and fractures on December 20, 2010. Prior to that, actress Natalie Mendoza, cast as Arachne, suffered a concussion during the first preview performance on November 28. She returned on December 15, but after Tierney's accident, and citing her own injuries, announced she was leaving the show permanently. During rehearsals, two stunt doubles were injured during the flying sequences.
Turn off the Dark was actually scheduled to open on Broadway about a year ago on February 18, 2010, but had to be delayed in order to complete fundraising for this somewhat daunting production. Since then, four additional premiere dates have been announced: December 2010, January 2011, February 2011, and now March 2011. In addition to the initial $65 million budget, running costs for the show have been reported to be as high as $1 million per week. However, all of the disasters, delays, and accidents have proven to be a lightning rod for audiences as last week, it was the number one show on Broadway.
The show is described as a rock musical, and it has music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge from the group U2. Book is by Julie Taymor, who also directs, and Glen Berger. Taymor has a long history in theatre, and won a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – the first woman to do so – for the Broadway version of The Lion King. This ambitious stage production of Spider-Man features more than two dozen aerial flying sequences, moving set pieces, giant screen projections, and almost twenty musical numbers.
In the comics, Peter Parker has always been characterized as being the unluckiest of all the Marvel Comics characters – the Charlie Brown of the superhero set. Will Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark prove to be hits or will the dreaded "Parker luck" strike again?
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is now set to open on Broadway on March 15, 2010. Spider-Man opens on movie screens on July 3, 2012 in 3D.