Inside moves

Sony studies 'Spider' spin; Spielberg's in 'Minority'

David Fincher and Chris Columbus have emerged as the final candidates to direct Sony Pictures Entertainment’s epic “Spiderman.”

For years the project had been snared in legal delays as Fox, MGM, Sony and Viacom battled. James Cameron was even attached to helm for seven years.

But the legal wrangling with MGM ended in Columbia’s favor last April.

Now the question lingering at Sony is, what kind of web-slinger does one want, exactly? With Columbus, who has helmed such feel-good fare as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Home Alone” and “Bicentennial Man,” one could see a Robin Williams-esque Spidey, cracking jokes and rounding up roughnecks, replete with zany hijinks.

Columbus’ recent tearjerker “Stepmom” grossed over $100 million for Columbia. His meeting with Sony brass may or may not materialize as he continues to weigh options.

At any rate, a warm, endearing Peter Parker, insiders said, is not quite the sort of Spandex-clad chap they’re thinking of in Sony’s corridors:

Fincher’s meetings with project exec veepee Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal were long and extremely positive, insiders said. And with noirish, intellectual actioners under his belt — like “Fight Club,” “The Game” and “Seven” — his vision for the crime-fighter is not likely be one of the yuck-a-minute variety.

The decision as to who will helm the story of the nuclear-powered superhero is expected before Christmas.

Both Columbus and Fincher are repped by CAA; their reps there could not be reached for comment.

— Claude Brodesser

NEW YORK — Despite rampant Internet speculation over whether Steven Spielberg will direct Tom Cruise in “Minority Report,” the director told CNN’s “Larry King Live” that the film was squarely in his plans. Citing a report in Tuesday’s Daily Variety that Spielberg was deciding between “Minority” and the “A.I.” script he’s now writing, King asked Spielberg which film he’ll make next. While Spielberg said he hopes to eventually make a fourth “Indiana Jones,” he made it clear that after not getting behind the camera since winning the director Oscar for “Saving Private Ryan,” he’s about to get very busy.

“I’m making ‘Minority,’ I have a lot of movies I’ll be doing,” Spielberg said. “Remember, I haven’t worked in almost two years, and I’m about to go into a large work spurt.” Spielberg refused to comment on the progress of “A.I.,” which he’s scripting from a Stanley Kubrick treatment, but he also vowed to helm “Memoirs of a Geisha,” another long-gestating development project. “I’m hellbent on making that one, as a director,” Spielberg said. “I have a big appetite now.” Independent sources tell Daily Variety there’s still a good chance Spielberg will line up films back to back, but that “Minority Report” won’t automatically be first; “A.I.” might be.

— Michael Fleming

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