The most thrilling part of being a film fan must be reading about casting wish lists. That's why we're all in it, right? To see a list of actors who have been deigned marketable by the studio bean counters, ready to plug into the latest franchise. This is why the Melies Brothers got up in the morning.
The second most thrilling, though, must be the shrinking director shortlist. It's such a gas to watch as the studio goes through a list of directors and then, through the magic of leaking to Deadline, publicly lets some of them know they aren't getting the job by leaving them off the next shortlist.
Which brings us to this: the latest Spider-Man director shortlist! We had one a couple of weeks ago (I don't have the energy to find the link, take my word for it) and now that's been brought down to two names from that old list... and a whole new name! The old guys are Ted Melfi, who directed last year's Saint Vincent, and Jonathan Levine, who has done The Wackness and Warm Bodies. Levine, a kid from New York City, is the perfect choice for the film, so I'm not holding my breath that he gets it.
The new name is Jon Watts, whose Cop Car - about kids who steal a cop car - made a splash at Sundance this year. I missed it, so I have no opinion on this one.
What's interesting about this director winnowing - and the continuing testing of actors for the role of Spider-Man - is the possible insight it gives us into the world of the Sony and Marvel team-up. Obviously they want to get this right - a new reboot so soon after the last reboot? You can't fuck that up - and I wonder how much of this slow process is agonizing over the right choice versus the two companies butting heads. Like in the casting world, I keep hearing that Asa Butterfield is pretty much telling people he is Spider-Man, but they just brought a whole bunch of kids down to Atlanta (where Captain America: Civil War is shooting) to test them. Does Asa think the role is his because someone at Sony or someone at Marvel told him that he's their guy? Are they still testing because someone at the other studio disagrees?
We'll find out soon enough. I had heard that they wouldn't need Spidey on the Civil War set until some time in June... and we are now some time in June. Could Marvel and Sony be hoping to announce both director and star at the same time? That makes some sense!