Five Names Make A “Spider-Man” Shortlist

A few months ago all the speculative casting about Marvel’s “Captain America” film came to a head when a shortlist of four final contenders for the titular role emerged online.

Today, a similar thing has happened for Sony’s upcoming planned reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise. Director Marc Webb has been meeting and reading actors quietly for several months and though the the studio is still on the lookout, the shortlist of candidates that will likely submit to a screen test shortly has come down to five names which Heat Vision seem to have uncovered:

1. Jamie Bell

The 24-year-old British actor and best known name on the list, Bell rose to fame as the title character in “Billy Elliot”.

He followed that up with classic literary adaptations like “Nicholas Nickleby” and the upcoming “Jane Eyre”, Hollywood actioneers like Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” and Doug Liman’s “Jumper”, indie dramas “The Chumscrubber” and “Undertow”, and big-budget war dramas including Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of our Fathers” and Ed Zwick’s “Defiance”.

He also stars as the voice and motion-capture elements of Tintin in Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” adaptation opening next year.

2. Andrew Garfield

The oldest and most interesting actor on the list, the U.S.-born and British-raised 26-year-old came to notice in 2007 thanks to starring roles in Robert Redford’s “Lions for Lambs” and acclaimed indie “Boy A” along with guest spots on British TV in the likes of “Trial & Retribution” and “Doctor Who”.

He popped up again recently as the lead in the first and most acclaimed part of the “Red Riding” TV movie trilogy, played the loveable young Anton in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” and will later this year appear in David Fincher’s “The Social Network” and Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go”.

3. Josh Hutcherson

The youngest actor on the list, the 18-year-old has also racked up the strongest and widest resume of the batch.

Hutcherson has appeared in comedies like “RV” and “Kicking and Screaming”, done voice work on animated feature “Howl’s Moving Castle” and series “Justice League”, and appeared in numerous arthouse dramas like “The Kids Are All Right,” “American Splendor” and “Little Manhattan”

More relevant though is that he’s had major roles in FX-heavy studio family-fantasy-action fare like “The Polar Express,” “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant,” “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Zathura,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D” and the upcoming “Red Dawn” remake.

4. Alden Ehrenreich

The 20-year-old American actor was “discovered” by Steven Spielberg thanks to a comedy video he saw at a bat mitzvah.

Though he had forgettable guest spots on “Supernatural” and “CSI”, many took notice of him last year when he played one of the main roles in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro” opposite veteran Vincent Gallo and stole the limelight from him.

He also stars in Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” opening later this year.

5. Frank Dillane

Though he starred as a child in 1997’s “Welcome to Sarajevo”, the 19-year-old British thesp’s sole real credit is playing the teenage version of Tom Riddle in the flashback/memory segments of last year’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.

Sony aims to begin production on the film by the end of the year and Alvin Sargent is currently getting the script into shape, but all claim they intend to take whatever time is needed to make sure the product comes out right.

At present Hutcherson seems to be the favorite thanks to his experience and age, but his commitment to the upcoming “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D” sequel could put a kink in the studio’s plans.