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Rhys Ifans cast as (unidentified) villain in next “Spider-Man” film

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Well that didn’t take very long.

Sony just announced that Rhys Ifans of “Pirate Radio” and “Notting Hill” will play the villain, opposite Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, in the next installment of Spider-Man from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Here’s the release, in part:

The film, to be directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and produced by Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will begin production in December and will be released in theaters nationwide in 3D on July 3, 2012.

Commenting on the announcement, [Matt] Tolmach said, “We have been very fortunate to attract some of the best actors working today to play the villains in the Spider-Man movies, and it is exciting to see that trend continue with Rhys Ifans. After seeing his performance in our upcoming film ‘Anonymous,’ we’re in awe of his talent and think he’s the perfect choice to take on this role.”

The filmmakers prefer to not reveal which character Ifans will be playing in the forthcoming film.

Webb added, “What sets the Spider-Man villains apart is the complexity of their relationships with Peter Parker. Rhys’ incredible ability to embody both warmth and rage makes him the ideal choice for this character.”

So they don’t want to say who Ifans is playing yet? Interesting. I wonder how long Sony will be able to keep that cat in the bag. Given Ifans’ look, I think we can count out Venom … though that villain has been rumored. Unless they are skipping the normal Eddie Brock look like Sam Raimi did with Topher Grace.

Ifans certainly could pass for The Vulture, if he’s willing to shave his head. He’d also make an excellent Carnage, if the studio wanted to go down the symbiote route but avoid Venom altogether.

Interesting news, and a good choice out of left field. More info on Webb’s “Spider-Man” as it develops!

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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