"Spider-Man 4" delayed over script clashes

Tue Jan 5, 2010 11:20pm EST
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By Carl DiOrio and Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The latest "Spider-Man" sequel is proving villainously difficult to plot out.

Sony and director Sam Raimi are at loggerheads over which direction to go with the villains for the latest installment -- an impasse that has prompted the studio to delay its scheduled spring production start and potentially to bump the picture from its May 11, 2011 release slot.

Raimi wants to have a criminal known as the Vulture act as the primary antagonist in the film while the studio, which dislikes the idea of the winged wrongdoer, is pushing for a romantic sub-plot involving a burglar named the Black Cat in addition to another villain.

A succession of writers has tried to marry the two parties' differing visions to no effect.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire ("Rabbit Hole") was hired in October 2008 to pen a key version of the screenplay, on top of the earlier version penned by James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac"). Last year, Sony brought in Gary Ross -- Oscar-nominated for his adapted script on 2003's "Seabiscuit" -- which he also directed.

Alvin Sargent is penning the latest iteration.

Word of the Sony-Raimi conflict first surfaced mid-December on genre Web site IESB, but Sony denied the report, saying tweaking of the script was "nothing unusual."

The differing views about the villain have their origins in the making of "Spider-Man 3."   Continued...