Marvel's Auditioning Actual Teenagers to Play the New Spider-Man

Tuesday, 24 March 2015 07:59 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Marvel's Auditioning Actual Teenagers to Play the New Spider-Man

Captain America: Civil War kicks off production in a matter of days, so Marvel needs to find a new Spider-Man lickety-split.

The wallcrawler is poised to make his MCU debut in next summer's superhero slugfest.  Even if his appearance is just as a cameo, which we suspect is the case, it's still the introduction of an all-new Peter Parker, and the actor playing Spidey is likely to wear the webs for years and years to come.

We already heard that Marvel and Sony's latest Spider-Man will be young, still very much in high school, but what's surprising is that they're looking at actual teenagers to play him.

Rather than the usual practice of hiring a 25 year-old to play a high school student, Marvel is auditioning real youngsters like 16 year-old Mateus Ward.

That's the rumor, anyway.  According to Badass Digest, the actor, best known for a role on Showtime's Weeds, tried out for the role at an audition so super-mega-secret that it went down at a house, not on a studio lot or in an office.  Nonetheless, the secret appears to be out, at least in Ward's case.  A lot of actors are doubtless attempting to snag the part, but the example of Ward gives a better idea of what Marvel's looking for.  It illustrates, for example, that this new Spider-Man is, in fact, Peter Parker, not Miles Morales as many fans were hoping.

Enlisting an actual teenager for the role is really, really smart both creatively and logistically.  Creatively, seeing someone so young and untested bouncing off the Avengers, pretty much all of whom are well into their thirties or beyond, ought to create an interesting dynamic.  This Spider-Man will be believably in over his head interacting with Earth's Mightiest Heroes.  He'll also be distinctive from the other heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Logistically, it gives the character – as well as the actor and the franchise – plenty of mileage.  Andrew Garfield was 29 when The Amazing Spider-Man hit; Tobey Maguire was 27 when Spider-Man arrived.  Neither was exactly believable as a senior in high school even in the first installments of their respective franchises.  Given that Marvel generally locks actors down for six to nine movies, casting someone Ward's age means the new Parker won't be pushing 40 deep into the franchise.  And after the debacle of The Amazing Spider-Man series, Sony is determined to avoid rebooting the character yet again.

Joe Quesada, the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Comics, had some insight on how to avoid such a fate this weekend, saying on Tumblr, "The trick to making any incarnation of Spider-Man great, whether comics, animation or film is Peter Parker. Get Peter’s character right and the rest falls into place."

He's in good hands.  Joe and Anthony Russo are directing Captain America: Civil War, a mini-Avengers movie which features Cap (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Hawkguy (Jeremy Renner), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), and Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl).

The new Spidey's 2017 solo movie, meanwhile, is likely to be written and directed by the great Drew Goddard, with Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige producing.

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