Jamie Bell, Josh Hutcherson Top ‘Spider-Man’ Short-List

Andrew Garfield, Alden Ehrenreich and Frank Dillane are also in contention for the coveted role in Marc Webb’s reboot

Last Updated: May 26, 2010 @ 7:38 PM

Jamie Bell, Josh Hutcherson, Andrew Garfield, Alden Ehrenreich and Frank Dillane are the latest names rumored to be on the short-list to play Peter Parker in Columbia’s "Spider-Man" reboot, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Bell and Dillane are both British, which would appear to be a problem for a movie about an American superhero, but tell that to English actor Christian Bale, who played Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight."

Bell broke out in "Billy Elliot" and is no stranger to big-budget blockbusters, having starred in Peter Jackson’s "King Kong" and the upcoming "Adventures of Tintin" movie from Jackson and director Steven Spielberg.

Dillane played a young Tom Riddle in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," but isn’t very well known outside of that franchise, so he’s likely the dark horse in this race, although I suppose his status as an unknown could wind up being beneficial for him in this case.

At 27 years young, Garfield is the oldest of the group, which may present a problem considering director Marc Webb is looking to take the character back to high school. Garfield turned in impressive performances in "Lions For Lambs" and "Red Riding: 1974," but his next movie could put him over the top. He plays Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in David Fincher’s "The Social Network," which is earning Oscar buzz in some corners of the Web.

Hutcherson (left) is the youngest of the bunch, and the most experienced along with Bell. He starred in Jon Favreau’s "Zathura" and "Bridge to Terabithia" before breaking out with his starring turn opposite Brendan Fraser in "Journey to the Center of the Earth." He’s also on board for a 3D sequel to that film, and next appears in Lisa Cholodenko’s "The Kids Are All Right." which also has awards buzz coming out of Sundance.

While I would be completely satisfied if Hutcherson won the role, I must admit that Ehrenreich (right) would be a fascinating choice. He was excellent in Francis Ford Coppola’s "Tetro," where he displayed true movie star charisma in a performance that indicated big things to come. Ehrenreich, who was famously discovered by Spielberg in bat mitzvah video of his daughter’s friend, looks like a cross between Leonardo DiCaprio and Emile Hirsch, so he’d certainly attract young female audiences.

Webb is looking to cast relative unknowns in his angst-ridden take on the "Spider-Man" story, which takes the web-slinger back to high school where he deals with the guilt of knowing he failed to stop his uncle’s death despite having the power to do so.

Columbia hopes to begin production by the end of the year, but Webb is taking his time choosing the right actor for the role, knowing that sequels will be sure to follow. Webb has been meeting and reading actors quietly for some time now, and screen tests will reportedly be a requirement.

"Spider-Man 2" writer Alvin Sargent is currently putting the finishing touches on the latest draft of the script.