'Descendants' thesp would play Mary Jane Watson in Sony sequel

It looks like Mary Jane Watson is back in Peter Parker’s life, as “The Descendants” star Shailene Woodley is in early talks to play the redheaded love interest in Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

Woodley is the studio’s leading choice to join stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the Marc Webb-directed sequel, which is preparing to start casting. Character breakdowns have gone out to talent agencies, and Electro is rumored to be one of the villains the filmmakers are considering for the next installment of the hit comicbook franchise.

In addition to thesps to take on Mary Jane Watson and an unspecified villain, the studio is seeking an actor to play Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s best friend and eventual enemy, played by James Franco in Sam Raimi’s original trilogy that starred Kirsten Dunst as M.J.

With production not starting until early next year, the studio still has plenty of time to decide which Marvel villain will battle Spider-Man. One option, Electro, is the namesake of Max Dillon, an enemy of Spider-Man who gains the ability to control electricity after being struck by lightning. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the character first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man #9″ in February 1964.

In “The Amazing Spider-Man’s” post-credit sequence, set inside Dr. Curt Connors’ cell at an asylum, the Lizard is approached by a mysterious, shadowy figure (Michael Massee) who asks if Peter Parker knows the truth about his father. Lightning features prominently in the scene.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing the sequel, whose screenplay will be credited to frequent tentpole scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, as well as Jeff Pinkner, based on a previous draft by James Vanderbilt. “The Amazing Spider-Man” grossed $751 million worldwide, and the sequel is skedded to swing into theaters in 3D on May 2, 2014.

Woodley was nominated for a Golden Globe and won an Independent Spirit Award for her perf as George Clooney’s eldest daughter in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants.” She was flooded with movie offers in the wake of the film’s success but remained focused on her ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which will end its run after its upcoming fifth season. Thesp is attached to star in Gregg Araki’s indie drama “White Bird” and recently wrapped James Ponsoldt’s “The Spectacular Now” with Miles Teller.

She’s repped by Paradigm, the Savage Agency, Principato-Young Entertainment and Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson.

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