Spider-Man 4 Start Suspended As Sam Raimi Battles Script, Studio

Things have been stormy in the Spider-Man 4 camp even before Movieline exclusively broke the news that director Sam Raimi was eyeing John Malkovich for the Vulture and Anne Hathaway for the brand-new villain Vulturess. Online reaction to the casting and choice of villains was wildly varied, and internal reception wasn't any easier, as clashes between Raimi, producers, and studio executives over the script forced a temporary break in pre-production. Now, Nikki Finke is reporting that the start date has been yanked. What exactly is going on?

Finke notes that though the script has been drafted by writers like Gary Ross, David Lindsey-Abaire, and Jamie Vanderbilt, Raimi was never happy with the results. Currently, Alvin Sargent (who has become the franchise's go-to clean-up batter, thanks in no small part to producer wife Laura Ziskin) is writing the new draft, but script problems are still big enough that the previously set start date has been scrapped and the sequel's May 11, 2011 release looks increasingly unlikely.

Also rumored to have fallen out of the project is Hathaway, who was being courted to play the controversial Vulturess, a character who'd been merged with comic-book villain Felicia Hardy. Finke's source told her that executives figured they didn't need to cast such a big star, but Movieline won't be surprised if Vulturess is reconceived in rewrites after fanboy outcry. Still, Malkovich remains attached.


EXCLUSIVE: 'Spider-Man 4' Officially Has No Start Date As Of Today Because Of Script Problems; Sony "Unlikely" To Make Scheduled May 5, 2011, Release Date [Deadline]