Five months ago, Sam Raimi thought he’d be prepping “Spider-Man 4” with franchise stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for another go around in one of Sony Pictures’ most important franchises. In fact, word had already leaked that he’d recruited Anne Hathaway and John Malkovich to play the film’s villains: the Black Cat and The Vulture. A few months later, Raimi was gone, “Spider-Man 4” was dead and Sony is currently working on completely rebooting the series under the eye of “500 Days of Summer’s” Marc Webb.
One of the reasons why Raimi departed was because of how adamant he was that the Vulture be Spidey’s nemesis this go around. Raimi had fought for the character to be in the third installment, but relented to the studio’s demands Venom be worked in to the picture instead. That choice turned out well at the box office, but left many fans disappointed in what was universally judged the worst film in the series. For the fourth flick, Raimi thought it would be easier to convince Sony of the Vulture’s dramatic merits, but the studio reportedly wanted nothing to do with a villain who looked like he was a weak senior citizen. Instead, the wanted another pretty face they could use as a promotional tool. It wasn’t the only reason Raimi departed the project, but it was a big part of his dispute with the studio over the picture.
The 57-year-old Malkovich hasn’t spoken much of the “Spider-Man 4” mishap, but the part would have been an interesting way to cap off the acclaimed actor’s trio of genre roles. Malkovich has already shot “Jonah Hex” Josh Brolin (based on the DC Comic), is currently filming the thriller “Red” (based on a graphic novel) and is now committed to star in “Transformers 3” for director Michael Bay.
HitFix spoke to Malkovich on the set of “Red” earlier this month about his long-expected Vulture role and his thoughts on how it all fell apart. As you’d expect, the “Dangerous Laison’s” legend said he was “disappointed” by the outcome.
“I like Sam and I like Tobey and all that stuff and the producers — two of whom who I”ve met before,” Malkovich says.
Moreover, the actor isn’t sure why the studio wouldn’t have wanted the Vulture. Especially based on the reaction he’d heard of from comic fans. Malkovich notes, “I think a lot of the people who follow that genre — but I don’t know if it’s the fanboy base — that the fanboys approved of that character as an adversary for [Spider-Man].”
It is unclear who the villain will be in the new, untitled “Spider-Man” incarnation, but it certainly won’t be Malkovich. He’ll be experiencing the unique drama of Michael Bay set for the first time. In the long run, we somehow suspect he’ll find that much more amusing.
Katie Hasty contributed to this report.