Molina Nabs Spidey Villain Role
Thu Feb 20, 4:15 PM ET
By Josh Grossberg
You might say Alfred Molina is literally stretching his range as an actor.
The veteran thespian, who just scored a Screen Actors Guild (news - web sites) nod for his role as Diego Rivera in Julie Taymor's art-house biopic Frida, will suit up to play supervillain Dr. Octopus in the hotly anticipated sequel to Columbia Pictures' mega-hit Spider-Man due out in 2004.
The Amazing Spider-Man reunites original cast members Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco with director Sam Raimi and producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad.
The sequel, of course, will see everyone's friendly neighborhood arachnid superhero save the world from the clutches of his arch-nemesis, the freaky four-tentacled evil scientist Dr. Otto Octavius, otherwise known as Dr. Octopus, to be played by Molina.
Doc Ock, as he's known among comic book fans, is the atomic researcher who developed a chest harness with four mechanical limbs similar to tentacles that allowed him to handle deadly radioactive substances free of danger. But when a freak lab accident exposes him to radiation, the frame ends up fusing with his skin, not only wreaking havoc on his nervous system and making him criminally demented but also allowing him to control his new-found tentacles with his mind.
"Alfred Molina has a remarkable facility for everything from classic drama to mainstream comedy, and he is the ideal choice for Dock Ock," Columbia Pictures chairman Amy Pascal told the Hollywood Reporter. "We wanted an actor that would bring irresistible depth and dimension to this role, and we are all tremendously excited to be working with Alfred."
The London-born actor made a memorable big screen debut as the double-crossing guide who tries to steal the golden idol from Harrison Ford in 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, (his character was switfly dispatched by a spike to the head).
He has since gone on to perform in numerous TV and theatrical productions, including this season's axed sitcom Bram & Alice (a truly terrible four-episode blip in an otherwise stellar career) and 1998's Tony Award-winning play Art, which nabbed him a Drama Desk Award. He's also appeared in such notable films include Enchanted April, Maverick, Boogie Nights and 2000's Oscar-nominated Chocolat.
Other credits include Ladyhawke, Letter to Brezhnev, Not Without My Daughter, Dead Man, Magnolia, Species, Anna Karenina, The Man Who Knew Too Little, and Dudley Do-Right.
Molina will next be seen in theaters in Columbia's upcoming psychological thriller, Identity for helmer James Mangold.
The Amazing Spider-Man is set to start production this spring in time for a May, 2004 release.