Dream Movie Casting – Woody Allen’s ‘Spider-Man’
Woody Allen and Spider-man. While the two may seem to belong to different worlds, they actually have much in common. For instance, Woody’s films are infatuated with New York City, and what is Spider-man if not the patron saint of New York? Sooner or later the question was bound to come up, what if Woody Allen got his hands on the Spider-man franchise? What would come from one of America’s wittiest (and most prolific) filmmakers directing a superhero flick? More importantly, what would that film look like?
Peter Parker, a character who seems to live by an Allen-ism — “My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.” — gets that chance when he is bitten by a radioactive spider and granted great power. Woody Allen’s Peter Parker is a shy, educated college student, majoring in an intellectual degree like Russian Literature, who plays the clarinet and harbours a secret crush on the most popular girl on campus. Mary Jane Watson is that girl, smart and beautiful, yet quirky (think Annie Hall), who falls into a relationship with Spider-man. To become Spider-man, Peter Parker must master his phobias and go through his own growth period, including seeing a psychoanalyst, before embracing his calling as a superhero. But after making a name for himself, Spider-man’s media coverage draws unwanted attention from Quentin Beck, an intense and famous movie star (think psuedo-Tom Cruise) who uses his knowledge of special effects to challenge Spider-man! Beck wants to create the greatest show on Earth and fuel his ego; but under the “stage-name” of Mysterio. After she gets kidnapped, Spiderman needs to rescue Mary Jane from the crazy clutches of Mysterio and save the day; but not before cracking jokes and worrying about everything.
Click to enlarge Poster A
Spider-man/Peter Parker – Jesse Eisenberg
Woody’s films often deal with a lovelorn protagonist who just doesn’t fit in, which sounds an awful lot like Peter Parker… It just makes sense that Jesse Eisenberg would play that Peter Parker in Woody Allen’s Spider-man. Eisenberg has admitted to having slight OCD, which matches with Woody’s own neuroses and phobias. Eisenberg is also a perfect cross between the awkward, geeky Peter Parker and the nervous acting of Woody Allen. His turn as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (and his Oscar nom) was really just prep for this role. Plus, given Woody’s penchant for casting the same actors, after From Rome With Love, Woody has never worked with a more fitting Spider-man.
Mary Jane Watson – Scarlett Johansson
Once again, Allen must go back to the well for Scarlett Johansson, the only choice to play Spidey’s girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson. She’s played the redhead before, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, and after Match Point, Scoop, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, she and Woody have clearly developed a great chemistry. Woody’s films often deal with an object of desire such as MJ, and Scarlett Johansson was born to fill those shoes.
Aunt May – Diane Keaton
Who better for Spider-man’s sweet old Aunt May than the woman who won Woody his first Oscar, Diane Keaton? They had a great relationship (on and off set), and she has a great confidence and inner strength, perfect for a character like Aunt May who has gone through so much but somehow manages to stay standing.
Uncle Ben – Woody Allen
Naturally Woody Allen would need to make an appearance somewhere, and where else than the tragic role of Uncle Ben? Allen can be a touching, sentimental heart when he’s not cracking wise, perfect to inspire Peter. It’s also a slightly unusual and dramatic role for Woody, a nice change of pace and a bit of a challenge. But, although he’s died in movies before, would Woody be okay with this role? After all, he’s the one who said, “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
J. Jonah Jameson – Sean Penn
Sean Penn and Allen worked well together in Sweet and Lowdown, where Penn reveals a goofy and eccentric side we hadn’t seen prior or since. He’s also well known for his fiery temper and dedication to a role, brilliant for Parker’s scene chewing hothead editor, J. Jonah Jameson. Plus, any film would be lucky to have the totally excellent Jeff Spicoli on board.
Mysterio – Kevin Spacey
Although he hasn’t worked with Allen before, unlike the rest of the cast, Kevin Spacey is an absolutely amazing actor and can bring so much strength to an otherwise cheesy role. As Mysterio, I imagine Spacey from Se7en, but less terrifying and murdery, crossed with his great psychotic turn in Horrible Bosses. The character of Mysterio will be revamped in the film as an established movie star – perfect fodder for Woody’s cynical relationship with Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the media.
Click to enlarge Poster B