The Men Who Would Be Harry Osborn in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′

Jonathan Crow
Movie Talk

Casting the best friend of Peter Parker -- especially when he might very well eventually become one of wall-crawler's worst enemies -- is certainly a daunting task.

The cast of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (we'll just refer to the sequel as that until instructed otherwise) is coming together nicely, with returning players Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone being joined by Shailene Woodley (as Spidey's redhead squeeze Mary Jane Watson) and Jamie Foxx (as the shockingly villainous Max Dillon / Electro). Now, the key role of Harry Osborn is about to be cast, and no less than four up-and-coming young actors are up for the part.

The current contenders for the role are Sam Claflin ("Snow White and the Huntsman" and the upcoming "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"), Eddie Redmayne (Marius in next month's "Les Miserables"), Douglas Booth (Darren Aronofsky's in-production Biblical epic "Noah") and Boyd Holbrook (set to take on the world of young adult novel adaptations with "The Host").

These four candidates are in addition to (or, more likely, in replacement of) three other contenders mentioned last week by The Hollywood Reporter: Dane DeHaan (who already did a supervillain turn of sorts in "Chronicle"), Brady Corbet ("Melancholia") and Alden Ehrenreich (the upcoming YA adaptation, "Beautiful Creatures"). These three were announced as the filmmakers were looking for someone "dark and edgy" for Harry, though they've apparently since changed direction and are now looking for someone with more "athleticism and good looks" (hey, it's Hollywood).

Harry's a tough one to cast, as you kind of have to mix "dark and edgy" with "athletic and good-looking." And you've got to find someone who can follow in the footsteps of James Franco. It's hard to find what Franco had -- charm, a great smile and a vaguely wild look in his eyes that suggests he could just completely snap at any second. Indeed, in Sam Raimi's original trilogy, Harry eventually picked up his father Norman's legacy of madness to become the new Green Goblin -- we have to assume that he'll be following a similar dark path in this new series.

If we had to pick from any of the four current contenders, we'd go with Redmayne. He brought a twitchy, nervous charm to his role as Colin Clark in "My Week with Marilyn" that would do well for Harry Osborn. Plus, apparently, he can sing -- you never know when that might come in handy (hey, Franco broke into an impromptu dance session with Kirsten Dunst in "Spider-Man 3," after all).

Stay tuned, Spider-fans. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (Sony needs to announce the official title, pronto) will muscle in on Marvel Studios territory with its release date of May 2, 2014.

See 7 minutes from 'The Amazing Spider-Man':

'The Amazing Spider-Man' Blu Ray clip