It appears that the upcoming sequel to last year's The Amazing Spider-Man could have another iconic antagonist to add to its rogues gallery. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor, Paul Giamatti has been in talks to play the immense, unstoppable, super-powered assassin, Rhino.
If the news indeed pans out, the Sideways and John Adams star, Giamatti will be the second belligerent baddie set for film, presumably joining Jaime Foxx as spark-shooting sinner, "Electro." Additionally, the report indicates that actress, Felicity Jones has joined the cast for a role that has yet to be specified. Although, given her age, look, and resume, the role could very well be for "Betty Brant," the beleaguered secretary of the Spider-Man-hating Daily Bugle boss, J. Jonah Jameson. (Played by Elizabeth Banks in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.) If it is the case that Jones plays Betty, it would create an opening for Jameson, which would also be a critical new casting decision.
It will certainly be interesting to see where Rhino fits into the puzzle of this film. In the comics, the character was previously a low-level thug in the Russian Mob named Aleksei Sytsevich who, looking to line his pockets, gets the opportunity to be a guinea pig in an experiment to create a sinister super-soldier on the behalf of some shady benefactors. Exposed to extensive radiation and chemicals (the true hallmark of super-power origins,) Aleksei's body becomes bonded with a crafted super-durable armor made to look like a rhinoceros.
Now endowed with strength and an unmatched power of charging impact, Aleksei soon realized that he could strike out on his own as the supervillain known as Rhino. From that point on, he would have legendary battles with Spider-Man, but would also cross over to tangle with several other heroes in the Marvel Comics Universe. In fact, his strength is so overwhelming he's even become a repertory enemy of The Hulk.
Obviously, there will be storyline and context alterations, but the role should still be potent, as Giamatti has apparently expressed his desire to play to this character in the past. Prevailing theories seem to tie his origin (and likely, Electro's) to the menacing mega-company, Oscorp, whose ominous unseen purveyor, Norman Osborn seems to be the puppet master of this new Spider-Man movie mythos.
The addition of Giamatti and Jones further expands the cast as they join confirmed newcomers, Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson, Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn, and, as mentioned, Jamie Foxx as Electro.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (title not yet confirmed) enjoys the tingle of Spidey Senses a bit too much at darkened theaters on May 2, 2014.