Talk about a bolt from the blue. The town was surprised today when Matt Tolmach exited from co-president of production at Sony Pictures Entertainment to a producing deal that starts with Tolmach joining the Spider-Man franchise he has managed from day one as an executive. Now, any time a studio production president segues into a producing deal and claims it was his choice, it gets my spider sense tingling. Because most times, it takes a firing, or the Jaws of Life, to pry occupants from these powerful studio president jobs. But Tolmach and his longtime co-president partner Doug Belgrad say that SPE’s newest producer actually did make the move voluntarily and that he’s had the itch to do it for some time. He steps into a three-year first look deal and will have to soon transition out of the Thalberg Building (no producers) and take office space elsewhere on the lot. He hasn’t yet thought of a company name to put on the door. All this happens around Thanksgiving, when Hannah Minghella moves from her post at Sony Pictures Animation to become president of production. And Tolmach joins producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad in gearing up for a December 6 production start on the Marc Webb-directed 3D Spider-Man reboot with newcomer Andrew Garfield in the title role. Belgrad becomes sole Columbia Pictures president under SPE chairman/CEO Michael Lynton and co-chairman Amy Pascal.
“You’re right, these jobs are great and it’s hard for people to imagine anyone leaving voluntarily,” Tolmach told me. “We’ve been saying to each other all morning, ‘nobody does this.’ But I like that. Amy, Michael, Doug and I have had this miraculous run, but the people who really know me heard this today, called and said, ‘I get it.’ As great as these jobs are, what happens in success is you move further away from the day-to-day meat of the movies. There are meetings all day long, on millions of topics, and I’ve found myself wanting to do less of that. I’d rather be engaged in one or two movies than to be in a notes meeting, get to page 65 of the script and tell everybody, ‘I have to go to another meeting.’” Read More »
UPDATE: Sony Pictures Entertainment will imminently offer the role of Mary Jane Watson to Emma Stone, who starred for the studio in Zombieland and Easy A. It’s another good role for Stone, who is currently shooting the Tate Taylor-directed adaptation of the Kathryn Stockett bestseller The Help for DreamWorks. She plays Skeeter, the college student who comes home determined to expose the class differences between the matriarchs and their house servants in the South in 1962.
That leaves the four other actresses I mentioned yesterday (with the possibility they could widen the search) for the role of Gwen Stacy. Those contenders are Glee’s Dianna Agron, Mia Wasikowska, Georgina Haig and Dominique McElligott. Stacy, played in Spiderman 3 by Bryce Dallas Howard, is a plum part for the first installment of the 3D Marc Webb-directed reboot of Spider-Man, because she is the first love interest of the high school-aged Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield. Mary Jane–played by Kirsten Dunst in the Sam Raimi-directed trilogy–becomes more pivotal in the later installments of the Spidey saga.
EARLIER: The search for a young actress to star alongside Andrew Garfield in the rebooted Spider-Man is intensifying. I’m told that Sony Pictures Entertainment has added a couple of contenders for the role. They are Dianna Agron, who stars in the hit series Glee and Georgina Haig, star of the Ben C. Lucas-directed Wasted on the Young, which premiered to acclaim at the Toronto International Film … Read More »
Hollywood has newly minted its next star, and it’s baby-faced Andrew Garfield. [UPDATE: I'm told Garfield's pay scale on the film is around $500,000 salary on the first film, $1 million for the second one, and $2 million for the third film. All of the finalists were presented with those terms in a deal for one film and two options.] I was first to tell you the 26-year-old was a finalist to play the new Spider-Man in the Marc Webb-directed 3D relaunch of Sony Picture Entertainment’s most lucrative film franchise. Also under consideration were Jamie Bell, Anton Yelchin, Aaron Johnson, Logan Lerman, Alden Ehrenreich, Frank Dillane, and Michael Angarano. Sony execs viewed the screen tests of six of those eight finalists last Friday night. Garfield’s biggest break until today was being cast in the upcoming David Fincher-directed The Social Network about the Facebook founders; my sources say his scene-stealing star turn in it is the reason he snagged the role of Spidey over the other finalists.
The young thesp also can be seen in The Other Boleyn Girl and The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus and The Red Riding Trilogy and the upcoming Never Let Me Go. Born in Los Angeles to a British mother and an American father, he moved with his family to Surrey, England when he was 3. He was trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and then began acting primarily on stage. He played Romeo once, and modeled in Vogue, and … Read More »