According to the Hollywood Reporter, Giamatti has been linked to the role of the villainous Rhino.
Coincidentally, the 45-year-old has had his eye on the role for some time.
“I thought Rhino was the greatest thing when I was a little kid,” he told Showbiz Spy in March 2011. “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.”
“If they ever go with The Rhino I would be ready and waiting.”
The Rhino, also known as Aleksei Sytsevich, appears in the “Spider-Man” comics as a greedy Russian mobster who undergoes chemical and radiation treatments in order to turn into a superhuman giant with armor modeled after the skin of a rhinoceros.
So far, Jamie Foxx, Shailene Woodley, Sally Field, Dane DeHaan and Martin Sheen have been cast in the film. Andrew Garfield is set to reprise his role as Spider Man while Emma Stone will again star as Gwen Stacey.
The film serves as a follow-up to last summer’s “The Amazing Spider-man,” which earned $752 million globally.
Giamatti has a whopping nine films set for release in 2013. He’ll star in Steve McQueen’s “Twelve Years as a Slave,” opposite Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, and “Saving Mr. Banks,” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
He’s also set to appear as Friar Lawrence in Carlo Carlei’s adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” and as Monsieur Homais in “Madame Bovary.”
Since starring in films like “American Splendor” and “Sideways,” Giamatti has become one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. Yet for much of his career, he has chosen mostly under the radar projects like “The Last Station” and “Barney’s Version.”
“Spider-Man” could raise his profile in the way that “Pirates of the Caribbean” did Johnny Depp’s. It would also mark the first time he has appeared in a blockbuster action film since Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes.”
The actor will no doubt bring considerable depth to the role and it would be refreshing to see an antagonist that isn’t one dimensional. Plus, it’s been a while since we’ve seen him as an antagonist (“The Nanny Diaries” doesn’t count).
Similarly, actor Michael Shannon, who has appeared in smaller films like “Take Shelter,” is set to star as the villain General Zod in the upcoming “Superman” reboot “Man of Steel.”
If cast, Giamatti would join the list of previous “Spider-Man” villains that includes Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Thomas Haden Church and Rhys Ifans.