Spider-Man could have been played by a host of A-listers including Tom Cruise...what?!
Marvel's favorite web-slinger is one of cinema's biggest box office draws.
So it comes as no surprise that the role is highly coveted in Hollywood. Through the years, there’s been quite a few actors to take on the role of Spider-Man on the big screen and even more actors that hoped to get the part. Although not everyone has gotten the chance to show off their web slinging skills on screen, there are some actors who have come pretty close!
Find out which actors were almost cast as Spider-Man…
Back in the early 2000s, Jake Gyllenhaal almost took on the role of Spider-Man after Tobey McGuire was injured on the set of another movie. Tobey was briefly fired and Jake was in talks to take over the part in "Spider-Man 2." In the end, the studio decided to rehire Tobey.
"There are so many roles in my career where I was up against another actor, or something happened that possibly could’ve happened but didn’t happen but maybe it would have," Jake told Yahoo Entertainment. "Eventually my belief is when an actor’s played a character, particularly in a movie, the character’s theirs, and that’s that. But yeah [Tobey] hurt himself and there was talk. And there was a slew of actors [possibly up for the part], and I was one of them."
The late great Heath Ledger was seriously considered for the lead role in the early 2000s "Spider-Man" flicks but in the end, he wasn't right for the part. While Heath never commented on the opportunity, Sony producer Amy Pascal says there was a time she really thought he might be the right fit.
"Heath Ledger was somebody that we talked about a lot, because I'd made a couple of movies with Heath. I love him, and I loved him then. That wasn’t where it went," Amy told Variety.
James Franco may have played Peter Parker’s best friend Harry Osborn in the early 2000s "Spider-Man" flicks but it turns out he was originally in the running for the starring role. James says he initially auditioned to play the superhero but was ultimately turned down.
"I first auditioned for the role of Peter Parker which went well. I found out I didn’t get it and I was disappointed," he reportedly said. "But then Sam Raimi, the director called me, and we got along so well, and he asked me [if I wanted] the role of Harry. No one else auditioned for the role."
Leonardo DiCaprio was once in the running for a "Spider-Man" movie that never got made. Back in the early '90s, director James Cameron reportedly turned in a script for what he later called "the greatest movie I never made." Leonardo says James approached him about the role and the pair had some chats about it.
"I know he was semi-serious about doing it at some point," Leonardo reportedly told Empire Magazine. "We had a couple of chats. I think there was a screenplay that I read, but I don’t remember. This was 20 years ago!"
Josh Hutcherson was once in consideration for the role of Spider-Man in "The Amazing Spider-Man." At the time, Josh said that knowing how many people had auditioned for the role, he was just honored to be put on the "short list."
"I’ve done the same thing that every other actor my age has for that part. It's something so big, it’s hard to even fathom getting, honestly. The fact that I’m on the list with some of the people that are on the list -- I’m amazed that they’re putting me on that 'short list,'" he told Entertainment Weekly. “I think it’s really cool to be considered by the media to be in the same category as all those other people that are being considered. It’s really a privilege.”
Joe Jonas thought he might have had a good chance of landing the role of Spider-Man in "The Amazing Spider-Man," considering the director Marc Webb had previously worked on music videos. While he didn’t end up getting the part, he agrees Andrew Garfield was the right fit for the role.
"I remember years ago I was up for Spider-Man and I was so, so excited and it was the year Andrew Garfield got it. Obviously, he was the right one. I remember that was a big thing at the time, going back for callbacks, and the director used to be a music video director. So I was like, 'I got an in here,'" he said on the Just for Variety podcast.
Timothee Chalamet was in the running to star as Peter Parker in the recent "Spider-Man" films but he was so nervous during his first audition that he wanted to ask to read again -- but his agent convinced him not to.
"I read twice and I left sweating in a total panic. I called my agent, [UTA’s] Brian Swardstrom, and I said, 'Brian, I thought about this a lot and I have to go back and knock on that door and read again,' and he told me the story of Sean Young and how in an attempt to become Catwoman had scared everyone away when she showed up at the studio gates in costume," he told The Hollywood Reporter.
8. Asa Butterfield
Asa Butterfield was also up for the role of Spider-Man in the recent reboot but ultimately didn’t get it. Looking back, he says he really wanted the role but ended up later getting “Sex Ed” and wouldn’t have been able to do both projects anyway.
“Every so often there’s a part [that you really want] and it’s a script you love, and you kind of put your heart and soul into it, and you don’t get it. And it is tough and it is s--t, but I often find that something even better comes out of it at the end. And so in the case of ‘Spider-Man,’ I did ‘Sex Ed,’ because I wouldn’t have been able to do both of those at the same time,” he shared with Collider.
He added, "Tom did amazing things with Peter and he had an entirely different portrayal of him and I think it’s worked so well in the universe and in that part, and I don’t think I could do it. So I think all things work out in the end."
Tom Cruise has actually been in talks to play Spider-Man on more than one occasion. He was first tapped for the role in the ’80s, but the film ultimately got scrapped. Then, more recently, Tom was in consideration to play Spidey in "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," although the plot ended up changing.
"So there was a whole period of time where Miles, rather than learning about being Spider-Man from a comic book, learned it from watching the films. There was a movie version of a movie about Spider-Man in Miles' universe about the real person Spider-Man, but it was a James Cameron-directed movie with Tom Cruise as Spidey. Yes. Spidey. And it was James Cameron and Spidey and Tom Cruise on the audio," screenwriter Rodney Rothman told SlashFilm.