Tucked inside the news that Shailene Woodley is in talks to play Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the news that director Marc Webb is also on the hunt for an actor to play Peter Parker’s best friend, roommate, and eventual arch enemy Harry Osborn.
The role of the troubled only son of mysterious and distant mega-conglomerate mogul Norman Osborn was, of course, played by James Franco in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. Franco was cast as the rakishly handsome counterpart to Tobey Maguire’s nerdy everyman, but with the new Peter Parker played by the rather rakishly handsome Andrew Garfield, who should fill the shoes of his monied compatriot? Not surprisingly, we have some ideas.
As my colleague Darren Franich pointed out to me today, there are really two ways to think of Harry Osborn: “Nice Kid Who Gets Driven To Evil” and “Evil Kid Who Tries To Be Nice And Fails.” As it happens, that also describes pretty much every young up-and-coming actor in Hollywood, so we’ve broken down our suggestions into those two categories:
NICE KID GONE BAD
Pro: Between his grass-roots filming collective Hit RECord, the four major feature films out this year, his buzz-y gig hosting a lukewarm Saturday Night Live, and his directorial debut out next year, JGL is pretty much the new James Franco, minus the multiple degrees and media overexposure.
Con: At 31, he has officially aged out of the “believable high school student” role.
Pro: His fine-boned features and genial good nature make him seem both blue-blooded and prime for a seriously devastating fall from grace.
Con: He’s already punched his franchise reboot punch-card as Chekov in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films, thankyouverymuch.
Pro: Tall, broad-shouldered, blond, conventionally hot: He’s the bizarro reflection of Garfield. And now that Weeds has been blissfully put out to pasture, he’s in the best position he’ll likely ever have to make the TV-to-movie-star leap.
Con: He may be too generic for the role.
Pro: He definitely makes for a convincing high schooler, and bringing all those rabid Teen Wolf fans to the table certainly couldn’t hurt.
Con: We’re know we’ll get flamed in the comments for this, but maaaaaybe he’s not quite up to acting opposite Andrew Garfield.
EVIL KID GONE GOOD AND THEN BAD AGAIN
Pro: He was one of the best surprises about American Horror Story, at once wounded and terrifying.
Con: In a different cinema universe, Peters would be playing Parker, and Garfield would be playing Osborn — and that’s not exactly helpful for the franchise.
Pro: The kid’s got range: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, he was a heartbreaking high schooler. In We Need to Talk About Kevin, he was a chilling psychopath.
Con: His finely tuned indie sensibility could be chewed to shreds by the gargantuan international tent-poll machine.
Pro: As Game of Thrones‘ spectacularly petulant King Joffrey, Gleeson’s made clear he’s really, really good at playing a guy you almost respect for being such a douche-bucket.
Con: It could be hard to see him as anything but King Joffrey.
Con: Um, Red Dawn doesn’t seem like it’s so great? We got nothing. Marc Webb, I think we’ve found your man!
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