When director David Leitch and Brad Pitt informed Sony Pictures Movement Image Group President Sanford Panitch that they have been eager to solid Aaron Taylor-Johnson for the ensemble thriller “Bullet Practice,” Panitch wasn’t super-aware of the British actor.
“It was a ‘I needed to look him up’ sort of factor,” Panitch tells Selection. “I didn’t have quite a lot of familiarity. After which we begin watching these unimaginable dailies [from ‘Bullet Train’], and you actually see the full-on motion star. He’s charming and he’s humorous and he’s holding his personal towards Brad Pitt. Lots of people can’t try this.”
Taylor-Johnson — who additionally headlined the R-rated comedian guide hero franchise “Kick-Ass” and performed Quicksilver in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Age of Ultron” — so impressed Panitch that he immediately shot to the highest of the listing for “Kraven the Hunter,” the long-gestating adaptation of the Marvel comics anti-hero and Spider-Man antagonist dubbed the best hunter on this planet. After a dialog with director J.C. Chandor (“Triple Frontier”), Taylor-Johnson landed the position.
“Kraven” is the newest challenge in Sony’s renewed efforts to capitalize on its the trove of Marvel characters that got here with the movie rights to Spider-Man. Together with “Venom” starring Tom Hardy and its upcoming sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” with Woody Harrelson because the title villain, Sony additionally has Jared Leto enjoying the vampiric “Morbius,” now set to premiere on Jan. 21.
Up to now, none of those films, nonetheless, explicitly contain Spider-Man — or, not less than, the Tom Holland model of the character, who remains to be a part of Sony’s unprecedented settlement to share the long-lasting web-slinger with Disney’s Marvel Studios. The newest, and (on paper, not less than) closing, movie in that partnership, “Spider-Man: No Method Dwelling,” is ready to premiere this December. However Panitch makes some extent of separating Spidey from its different superhero titles.
“We don’t actually consider our 900 characters because the Spidey-verse,” he says. “We’ve a Marvel universe. The quantity of characters we’ve got — you realize, wait till you see this subsequent ‘Venom.’ You don’t miss Spider-Man.”
He pauses. “It’ll be thrilling in the event that they do meet, proper?”
Therein lies the rub. On the planet of sprawling comic-book universes, the tangled net between Sony’s Marvel-verse and Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe is particularly perplexing. As a result of Holland’s Peter Parker is a part of the MCU, any look he would make in Sony’s different Marvel movies would appear to retroactively rope in characters like Hardy’s Venom and Taylor-Johnson’s Kraven within the MCU as properly — however Marvel Studios is barely a producing companion with Sony on the Holland films. Complicated issues even additional, the primary trailer for “Morbius” teased an look by Michael Keaton, who performed the Spider-Man villain Vulture within the Sony/Marvel Studios co-production “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
Panitch understands that the inherent rigidity on this convoluted nexus of mental property has engendered confusion and frustration amongst followers. Whereas he stays circumspect about any particulars, Panitch can also be candid that he expects that rigidity will quickly be resolved…in some way — and that greenlighting “Kraven,” a personality who’s additionally tussled with Venom within the comics, fills in one other piece of that puzzle.
“There really is a plan,” he says. “I believe now perhaps it’s getting a bit extra clear for individuals the place we’re headed and I believe when ‘No Method Dwelling’ comes out, much more will likely be revealed.”
One of many worst saved secrets and techniques in Hollywood is that “No Method Dwelling” will likely be diving headfirst into the multiverse, and incorporating characters from Sony’s earlier “Spider-Man” films that starred Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Alfred Molina, for instance, informed Selection in April that he will be digitally de-aged in “No Way Home” to seem like he did because the villain Doc Ock on the finish of 2004’s “Spider-Man 2.”
The implication is that no matter occurs in “No Method Dwelling” may enable for Holland to stay in Sony’s Marvel films whereas additionally in some way being part of the MCU. However past one other look by Holland’s Spidey in an as-yet-unannounced Marvel Studios movie, “No Method Dwelling” is the final movie in Marvel and Sony’s present deal to share the character.
When requested what the longer term holds for Spidey and Marvel Studios, Panitch sounds an optimistic, if imprecise, be aware — invoking Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige.
“The good factor is we’ve got this very wonderful relationship with Kevin,” he says. “There’s an unimaginable sandbox there to play with. We would like these MCU films to be completely large, as a result of that’s nice for us and our Marvel characters, and I believe that’s the identical factor on their aspect. However we’ve got a terrific relationship. There’s a number of alternatives, I believe, which can be going to occur.”
A kind of alternatives would appear to be lastly making a film in regards to the Sinister Six — the cabal of Spider-Man villains, together with Doc Ock and Kraven. Sony tried as soon as earlier than, as a spin-off of 2014’s “The Superb Spider-Man 2.” So does making a “Kraven” film imply the studio is near bringing this heinous half-dozen collectively for actual?
“It’s powerful, as a result of I believe these initiatives are the sort of issues we’ve got to work on at midnight,” he says. “They’re not prepared till they’re prepared. ‘Kraven’ is a superb instance as a result of we simply didn’t rush it. We may have made that three plus years in the past. It’s simply now the script’s superior, J.C. was the suitable alternative, and we discovered the film star as a result of it was simply kismet, and watching this different film and realizing that could possibly be the proper casting.”
As for the Sinister Six?
After a protracted pause, Panitch chuckles. “It will be very cool, wouldn’t it?”