I've been on the road covering a film festival and was sitting in darkened movie theaters all day, so I haven't been able to post and respond to some of what's been said about Logan Lerman and his role (or not) in the upcoming "reboot" of Spider-Man, a story I've been reporting on for quite some time.

As readers of this blog know, it was back in January (in an article last updated February 27) when I started talking about it publicly after information had leaked out, some by the actor himself. I said at the time that Lerman WAS on the shortlist of actors being considered for the role. That's a fact. The article linked above follows some of the history of the story. So what's going on? As some of you probably know by now, a story by Drew McWeeny at Hitfix claimed a source told him that Lerman was "almost 100% locked" for the role. After that, Mike Fleming at Deadline contacted his sources at Sony, who slammed that report mercilessly. Apparently Fleming was told that not only is the Hitfix report untrue but even said Lerman is "100%" NOT getting the role and is not even on the list of actors being considered. Sounds pretty definitive. There couldn't be two more opposite stories, and both are from what I, and most people in the industry, consider to be reliable sources.

What I DO know, which I reported here over three months ago, is that what Hitfix reported WAS true at one point. I can vouch for that. I said what Drew said in almost the exact same words back in January and have repeated it many times on Lerman's IMDb message board. It's all there. Lerman WAS on the list and anyone at Sony who says he was not doesn't know what other people at Sony have said.

So the Hitfix report WAS true at one time. My source told me exactly the same thing (maybe we both have the same source). What Sony says now, according to Fleming, implies that he was REMOVED from the list, and they seem to have shut the door on the possibility that he could ever get the role. At any rate, both Drew at Hitfix and I had the same info -- it's posted here and elsewhere. Why the discrepancy? It simply could be that our source(s) have an outdated story, since Mike Fleming at Deadline appears to have the newest info as he approached Sony today after Hitfix posted. Since then, Hitfix has come back and denied the veracity of Deadline's source and stands by its original story.

So here is what I know to be true. First, Lerman WAS being considered at some point. Sony even said publicly not long ago that Lerman was on the list. And they didn't say otherwise today ("he is not on the list of candidates"). So Sony didn't lie. They did not say he was never on the list. Second, the only way the Deadline story could be correct is if Lerman was removed from consideration. In that case, they can still say he is not getting the role and can say he is not on the list without ever admitting that they were considering him at one point and took him out of the running. Therefore, both the Hitfix story and the Deadline story can be correct provided that the information given to Deadline is newer than what was given to Hitfix. In that case, nobody has to lie, and Sony can give the role to someone else without it appearing that Lerman was turned down for it. Both Sony and Lerman save face. Of course, this also means it would be very difficult for them to actually give him the role now, provided that the information they gave to Deadline is correct.

I guess it depends on what your definition of ''is'' is.


Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

Comments (7)

  • howie Reply

    @larry - what a tangled web! Wonder why he was suddenly taken off the list when he was presumably near or at the top of the list just a couple of weeks ago? Netfix claims he has not entered into contract negotiations yet so could it have been major contract issues? Or they simply weren't wowed by him? Though if box office is bottomline for Sony, PJO shows he can take the lead in an action-adventure film and is the studio aware of how many new fans this kid has after just 2 months of exposure thru PJO? The internet is awash with new logan lerman tumblrs, fansites, tweets, msg boards, etc. and it's global and not just North America. he's not robert pattinson or taylor lautner yet but may be getting there soon. Zac Efron's 17 Again, his first major vehicle outside of disney only made about $ 131 M globally while PJO has now made just under ?220 M so audiences are receptive to new young actors like Lerman.

    that being said, i think the studio may be losing out on a young actor who could potentially give audiences a fresh take on peter parker/spidey. expect a lot of disappointed fans. And the reboot was never popular to begin with.

    Now whose source is more credible/on the ball/current? Hitfix or Deadline Hllywood? It would probably help if Lerman's camp makes a statement too saying that he's looking into other projects now or has other commitments. And Sony should keep a tighter leash on its people/insider sources "close to the production team". These Sony people are the ones creating all the rumors. Fans lose out in the end

    April 12, 2010 at 6:12 am
  • howie Reply

    Larry - So a new name has cropped up in a rather awkwardly written piece with several typos on IESB re someone on the spiderman shortlist: Josh Hutcherson. I'm sure he's on some list as he seems to tick all the boxes and may even be no 1 choice now.

    Problem: Seen the kid act in other movies--so, so even worse than Lerman's PJO turn which was hobbled by a mediocre script and directing. He is good in the Kids are Alright. But he just doesn't give off a Peter Parker vibe. Zac Efron too cool and pretty. John Hutcherson is just cool and doesn't come across as a genius/supernerd. As from all indications they will use the ultimate spiderman universe, Parker is even more of a science and tech nerd in this one.

    Lerman embodied the science/space-obsessed kid in Jack and Bobby perfectly. He comes across as very smart for his age in interviews and confesses to be a movie geek. He could do better than Hutcherson.

    And on those fansite polls, Josh can't even score higher than 8 votes and Lerman is still getting votes now in the hundreds after those Sony denials.

    But does the studio care what fans think? Or are they actually leaking different names to get a feel for public reaction like the Captain America casting?

    It's become the sport du jour for Hllywood it seems.

    April 14, 2010 at 6:37 am
  • lrichman@pronetworks.org
    lrichman@pronetworks.org Reply

    Hi Howie, thanks so much for the eloquent and insightful comments. I was away at a film festival and didn't have a chance to respond.

    Tangled web indeed (pun intended, I assume?). "Not having entered" into contract negotiations implies no offer was ever made, although it's a question of definition. I believe (I hope) Sony is aware of his new popularity. It's hard to imagine they are living in a vacuum. But an actor's fan base is often not taken into account at all in casting, as some execs would like to believe they know better. Sometimes they even see it as a threat. Naturally, as a longtime fan of Logan's work (going back way before most people had ever heard of him), I'm thrilled to see his newfound celebrity and would like to think it would enhance his desirability among producers. Lerman's camp has to remain tight-lipped since this is so political. They can't appear to be taking sides lest they step on the toes of someone they depend on. As far as leaks are concerned, there's the age old question as to whether or not they are actually deliberate, to test public and industry reaction (trial balloon).

    Josh was never on the shortlist that I saw. So he'd be a new addition. I've followed his work for a long time too so I'd be hard pressed to vote no. I think you have to look at Journey or Cirque (despite its execution and limited success) vs. The Kids are All Right in gauging his potential as an action lead. As far as intelligence goes, not that it matters, but having met him a couple of times and following his career, I believe Josh may be one of the most intelligent young actors in Hollywood. He's very bright and mature for his age, even more so than Logan, I think. But it's clear that Logan's new status among fans eclipses Josh's.

    Your conclusion in the second comment you made is spot on, as I mentioned earlier in my reply. It appears to be exactly what they're doing.

    April 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm
  • howie Reply

    glad to hear from you larry, enjoying the articles from the the film fests you've just attended.

    I guess sony wants to keep the buzz going on the spidey reboot in general. hope that lerman is still under consideration. sorry, i don't see hutcherson as a peter parker/spidey but if the studio leans towards this, what can fans do.

    maybe they wanted to cut through the buzz created by Kick-Ass in the last two weeks so leaks may be deliberate. Sadly the buzz is not doing much to buoy Kick-Ass' box office numbers.

    We'll just have to see. If lerman doesn't get it, hope his reps get meaty roles for him in the future.

    April 17, 2010 at 11:40 am
  • lrichman@pronetworks.org
    lrichman@pronetworks.org Reply

    Thanks, Howie. Glad you're enjoying my festival coverage! I haven't heard anything "official" about Josh, just rumors. I went to the world premiere of Kick-Ass at SXSW. I thought it was enjoyable but I think a lot of negative word-of-mouth was spread by conservative "journalists" regarding Chloe's character. I didn't find it offensive at all, but that's just me. I have no doubt there is a stack of quality scripts on Logan's agent's desk. I hope he sticks to indies, personally.

    April 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm
  • howie Reply

    agree larry, Kick-Ass got negative buzz from conservative critics/commentators. I personally found it a well-made film, true to the spirit of the comic book source, and with solid acting across the board, particularly from Moretz and Nic Cage. The movie just seemed to get an extra spark whenever they were onscreen so much so that a lot of viewers felt it should have been called "Hit Girl".

    We'll all just have to wait for the Spiderman casting then. Though I think Lerman and other young actors should go the indie route bec of the depth of material, a blockbuster/franchise/high profile gig here & there wouldn't hurt. The thing about indie films is that while the product is in many ways superior to studio fare, the distribution level is so uneven, a lot of these excellent movies don't even reach the public and most don't even get picked up at festivals. Sad but real.

    And if talented up and comers stick to the purely indie route, then the rest of the public will be stuck with more mediocre talent from studios. In a way, i'm glad that good actors like JGordon Levitt and Lerman are mixing up their project choices lately.

    April 18, 2010 at 5:55 am
  • lrichman@pronetworks.org
    lrichman@pronetworks.org Reply

    I hadn't read the books but am a big fan of Aaron Johnson's work, and was pleased with the overall execution. It was just tongue-in-cheek enough to allow it to get away with its "transgressions," but some people just took it too seriously.

    I see about 200-350 festival films a year and maybe 5-10% get picked up for distribution. Even then it's usually a limited art house release. Of the other 90-95%, some will continue to play the fest circuit and end up on VOD, cable, or DVD. But most will enter what I call the "indie ether," never to be seen or heard from again. Even so, people who see them at festivals remember the filmmakers and cast members, and producers will offer them projects based on those smaller films. So they act as stepping stones or calling cards to bigger movies or indies with a higher profile.

    Most indie actors do what you said, filling in the time with bigger budget films or episodic television (Law & Order, CSI) so they keep food on the table and their visibility high. Depp and DiCaprio are good examples of indie actors who ramped up their careers carefully without losing credibility.

    April 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm

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