By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 19, 2012 at 7:56PM
How quickly a studio (or a trade?) change their minds. Not even a week ago, it was reported that a trio of indie types -- Brady Corbet, Dane DeHaan and Alden Ehrenreich -- were leading the pack to take over James Franco's old part of Harry Osborne, best pal to Peter Parker, and son of Green Goblin Norman Osborne, in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," the sequel to this summer's tepidly-received superhero reboot. But it seems like either The Hollywood Reporter were acting on old info, or Marc Webb and Sony executives had a major rethink over the weekend, as the same trade now reports that the three previous names are out, and four new, and quite different actors, are now testing for the role.
Last week's report said that, having flirted with the idea of an athletic type, it had been decided to go for a dark, brooding interpretation of the role. But they've done a volte face to a casting brief of "athleticism and good looks," and four names have now emerged, in the shape of Sam Claflin, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth and Boyd Holbrook, all of whom will be testing in the coming days.
Clafiln's becoming an increasingly familiar face thanks to a liberal approach to taking franchise fare, having taken key roles in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and "Snow White & The Huntsman," with a role as fan favorite Finnick Odair in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" coming up. Redmayne's also recognizable from "My Week With Marilyn," and is soon to be even more so thanks to a major role in "Les Miserables." Booth is less familiar at present, with the BBC TV version of "Great Expectations" and the love interest in flop Miley Cyrus vehicle "LOL" his most notable credits to date, but he's about to have a good year or so, with "Romeo & Juliet," opposite Hailee Steinfeld on the way in 2013, and the part of one of Russell Crowe's sons in Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" following in 2014. Former model Boyd Holbrook is the least well-known of the quartet, but he did crop up in "Milk" and "Hatfield & McCoys" in the last few years, and has "The Host" and "Very Good Girls" coming up next year.
Anyway, it's clear what sort of look Sony are now pursuing; old money (all but Holbrook are British), Ivy Leaguish, and with excellent bone structure. So not all that different from Franco's interpretation, then. Another victory for the let's-change-some-things-but-mostly-keep-them-the-same approach of the Marc Webb "Spider-Man" era! Assuming another shortlist doesn't arrive next week including Jonah Hill, Josh Gad and that kid from "Project X," we'll likely hear which of the four will be joining Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Shailene Woodley and Jamie Foxx in the film some time after Thanksgiving, but we'd put money on it being Booth or Holbrook, who are slightly less in demand at this point, and less likely to cause scheduling conflicts with a multi-film contract (also, Redmayne in particular is a really, really good actor, and would be sort of wasted here). "The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Many Faces Of Harry Osborne" will hit theaters on May 2nd, 2014.