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Franchises are now in the process of trapping directors. Want to make anything other than sequels? You’re S.O.L. dude. You can only hope that the consistency that’s being developed involves quality control: if you’re going to trap a director in your web (PUN INTENDED), it might as well be a capable one. Is Marc Webb that guy? Sony thinks so, because the man who reinvented The Amazing Spider-Man has a second installment coming this summer and is now attached to direct the third. Fortunately for him, he’s looking to diversify.
Deadline reports that Webb is attached to Cold Comfort, a true-life spy story written by Ellis Henican and a mysterious second writer who cannot reveal his identity. Fox will be producing the film, and they hope to find a way to pluck Webb from Sony’s clutches before the studio can lock him into eighth, ninth, tenth Spider-Man movies.
The hook of the story is essentially how to be a homemade spy. The mysterious collaborator on the book was a common man who essentially taught himself the tools of espionage, and eventually worked with authorities in the FBI to bring down an undercover Russian operative. The report suggests there’s a comedic element in play, though this kind of sounds like pretty serious stuff. It’s not really clear where the laughs are in spy work: a movie like Breach captures the real-life world of cloak-and-dagger skulking and stalking. The movie is riveting, the actual spy work is boring.
It’s unclear when Webb would direct this, given that he’s just made the commitment to The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which would likely shoot in early 2015 the latest. Not only that, but Webb is part of that massive Spider-Man braintrust. Alex Kurtzman will be directing Venom and Drew Goddard is in the director’s chair for The Sinister Six, but they and their writers all answer to Webb and his (so far) trilogy. Does Webb pass the baton on The Amazing Spider-Man 4, currently slated for a 2018 release? Is he essentially this series’ godfather? Sony needed to re-sign him for a third, which makes it likely he’s not contractually obligated to make a fourth. In other words, is there going to be pushback from Sony when Webb absconds to a different studio to make movies?
Whatever the case, spy work in movies is usually pretty diverting, and for every Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you need something a bit more populist and silly, as Webb’s film might be, given his track record of diverting, comedic entertainment. Still, we’ll always have Breach: check out the trailer to that unsung movie below.