The new installment of Sony’s live-action Spider-Man franchise is on its way to finding its director. According to Deadline, the studio has a shortlist of high-profile filmmakers in serious contention for the gig and is expected to make a decision within the next couple of weeks.
As revealed earlier this year, the next Spider-Man will be the first of the series to team rights holder Sony with Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige. No specific plot details regarding the new iteration have been revealed yet, although it’s been rumored that the film will be a John Hughes-esque tale that focuses on a high school-aged Peter Parker after he’s already been bitten by the radioactive spider.
Which young actor will take over the iconic superhero role has yet to be announced, but Deadline has just revealed several names of potential directors for the project. Per the report, these are just some of the options currently in the running for the coveted job, but all six are described “seriously in the mix.”
Tellingly, the group includes mostly indie and comedy directors, not big-action helmers as most might have expected. The first contender to be named? Director Jonathan Levine, who is best known for helming the well-received 2011 cancer-themed comedy drama 50/50. In addition to earning a widely positive critical response, the movie was a success at the box office as well. Also among Levine’s notable credits is the 2013 zombie heartthrob flick Warm Bodies which the filmmaker wrote and directed.
Also a possible candidate is Ted Melfi. The filmmaker only made his directorial debut last year with St. Vincent, but it made quite a splash. Melti, who also penned the screenplay for the heartfelt comedy drama starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
Marvel and Sony are also reportedly considering Jason Moore to helm the new Spider-Man. Moore started out directing episodes of teen shows like Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill but has since made an impact in comedy on the big screen. He helmed 2012’s musically themed smash hit Pitch Perfect, and also directed Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in this December’s Sisters.
John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, the directors of the upcoming Vacation reboot, are also listed as potential contenders. Their inclusion is a possible signal of the confidence Warner Bros. has over the coming remake, which garnered lots of early buzz and is expected to be a hit.
Jared Hess is the final name revealed in Deadline’s report and perhaps the most unexpected. The director first made his distinctive voice known as the writer and filmmaker of 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite. He helmed the 2006 comedy Nacho Libre as well and is also directing this summer’s action crime comedy Mastermind, starring Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, and Zach Galifianakis.
The somewhat surprising list of directors is a clear signal that the studios are looking to make this Spider-Man something totally new and fresh. Almost all of those name-dropped come from a comedy background, which fits in well with the speculation that the film will be more of a Hughes-like, coming-of-age tale that adds humor and emotion to the superhero action.
Still, it’s an entirely different direction directorially than the studio was thought to be taking just two months ago. In early March, it was reported that Drew Goddard was meeting with Marvel about potentially taking on the project. Goddard has experience in the superhero world, having created Netflix’s hugely popular (but decidedly dark) Daredevil. Given his success with that series, his rumored inclusion seemed to generate a positive response with audiences. But now, it seems Sony and Marvel have decided to go more out-of-the-box with their choice.
As previously mentioned, the list isn’t necessarily an exhaustive one, and more names are reportedly up for consideration. We’ll have to stay tuned for the final decision, but judging from what we’ve heard so far, it’s clear that moviegoers should expect a very different Spider-Man to be headed their way.