Spider-Man’s got a new girlfriend.
Bryce Dallas Howard is in talks to join the Columbia Pictures tentpole “Spider-Man 3,” playing Gwen Stacy, who takes Mary Jane’s place in Peter Parker’s heart.
Howard would join returning stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco, as well as new villains Thomas Haden Church, who’ll reportedly play Sandman, and Topher Grace, who’s aboard as Venom.
Sam Raimi is directing the script by Alvin Sargent, from a story by Raimi and his brother Ivan. Filming gets under way this week. Laura Ziskin and Marvel’s Avi Arad are producing.
In the Spidey comicbooks, Gwen is a close pal of Mary Jane’s who becomes Parker’s g.f., though she loathes Spider-Man because her police captain father was killed during a skirmish between the wall crawler and Doctor Octopus. Since being tapped by director M. Night Shyamalan for the lead in “The Village,” Howard has done “Manderlay” and “As You Like It,” and she returned to star in the Shyamalan-directed “Lady in the Water” with Paul Giamatti.