It seems that Sony Pictures decided to start the week off with a bang. Hot off the heels of Emma Stone's confirmation to play love interest Gwen Stacy, it's been announced that the Spider-Man reboot now has a villain to call its own in actor Rhys Ifans. While the name may not have exactly reached household status, chances are, you've seen his work. With a breakthrough role as the slobbery and eccentric housemate in the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts romcom Notting Hill, he's had quite a healthy and diverse amount of films on his resume, including an upcoming turn as Xenophilius Lovegood, "hippie wizard" father of Luna in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Of course, the catch to the big announcement, is that we still have no idea what villain he will play in the upcoming Marc Webb-directed reboot. He will be the third official addition to the primary cast alongside Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy.
According to Columbia Pictures President Matt Tolmach:
"We have been very fortunate to attract some of the best actors working today to play the villains in the Spider-Man movies, and it is exciting to see that trend continue with Rhys Ifans. After seeing his performance in our upcoming film 'Anonymous,' we're in awe of his talent and think he's the perfect choice to take on this role."
It's going to be difficult sizing-up exactly which villain Ifans may play. However, conventional wisdom (which I do concede failed us with the Emma Stone/Gwen announcement) might tell us what he won't be. He might be a little young for Norman Osborne/Green Goblin and doesn't have the crazy eyes necessary. He also looks nothing like Doc Ock or Kraven, and he's certainly not the type for Venom or Carnage. (But then again, was Topher Grace?)
However, as director Marc Webb adds:
"What sets the Spider-Man villains apart is the complexity of their relationships with Peter Parker. Rhys' incredible ability to embody both warmth and rage makes him the ideal choice for this character."
My initial speculation/hopes might have had the film going with an iconic-yet-obscure character like the Web-Head's very first villain in the comics, The Chameleon. However, after Webb's "hint," my guess is that he's fulfilling the legacy of the scrapped fourth Sam Raimi Spider-Man film and finally bringing The Lizard to life. The Curt Connors character (played by Dylan Baker in the Raimi films) needs to be sympathetic to the audience (thus, "warmth".) Yet, the failed experiments to restore his missing arm may tap into the primal side of the anger over his situation (thus, "rage.") Perhaps paralleled to Peter Parker's newly-minted spider-powers, Connors may end up being more of a willing accomplice to the chaos caused by his reptillian alter-ego than the comics have depicted. However, from a certain standpoint, we may still understand his motives.
Well, that was my guess. What famous Spider-Villain do you think Rhys Ifans will bring to life?
Source: Press Release