Paul Giamatti, the Oscar-nominated star of highbrow hits like Sideways, American Splendor and the historical TV drama John Adams, is reportedly in talks to play a costumed Marvel supervillain called The Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
While Giamatti might not be the kind of actor you’d necessarily expect to see in a Spider-Man movie, it’s worth remembering that the 45-year-old has been letting his hair down with parts in the likes of Rock of Ages and The Hangover II in recent years.
In addition to Giamatti, The Hollywood Reporter also claims that Felicity Jones, the star of 2011’s award-winning romantic drama Like Crazy, is in talks to join The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in an unspecified role.
Both actors will join a cast that includes Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Shailene Woodley and Dane DeHaan when the film goes into production in February.
Giamatti has in fact been hinting at his Spider-Man role in interviews for some time.
In March 2011, he said: “I thought Rhino was the greatest thing when I was a little kid. It was a guy who was basically in this rhinoceros outfit and I always thought, ‘Why don’t they have The Rhino in one of their movies,’ but maybe The Rhino wasn’t that big of a deal for anybody but me.”
He also offered to step up to bat should The Amazing Spider-Man’s makers ever decide to include the character, telling entertainment news site Showbizspy: “If they ever go with The Rhino I would be ready and waiting.”
Giamatti then appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brian around the same time and talked about the character again, saying: “The Rhino was fantastic. He was, like, a Russian guy. He was real fast and he hit stuff real hard.”
The Rhino first appeared in comic form in The Amazing Spider-Man #41, which was published in 1966. He was a Soviet thug named Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich who dressed in a suitably rhino-esque costume that made him invulnerable and gave him super strength and speed.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is due out in UK cinemas on 18 April 2014.