When Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” (November 21) opens the New York Film Festival, Tobey Maguire won’t be in it. This is not news. Maguire, who is trying to come to terms with his post-“Spider-Man” identity, was replaced last summer by actor Rafe Spall (“Prometheus,” “Anonymous”) in the small role of a writer who interviews Pi.
This is nothing if not awkward. Maguire had starred in Lee’s 1997 “The Ice Storm.” (Remember: back in 2004, post-“Seabiscuit,” Maguire was almost replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal on the “Spider-Man” sequel, due to demands Maguire made about his bad back, until his future father-in-law Ron Meyer stepped in to straighten out the situation.)
Back in July, Deadline reported that Maguire was out of “Life of Pi,” when Maguire joined Jason Reitman’s “Labor Day.” At that time the spin was that Lee had decided to go with a completely international cast. Now THR is reporting that Maguire was too famous for the role, and posts official make-nice “responses” from Maguire and Lee, respectively:
“I fully support Ang’s decision to go a different direction for this role in Life of Pi. Ang shared a lot of the film with me, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful.”
“To be consistent with the other casting choices made for the film, I decided to go with an entirely international cast. I very much admire Tobey and look forward to working with him again in the future.”
Thanks to “Spider-Man,” Maguire is considered bankable by foreign sales companies, but that won’t last forever. “The Good German,” and “Brothers” were all flops. And adding insult to injury, several of Maguire’s upcoming films have been pushed back, including Jacob Aaron Estes’ black comedy “The Details,” which The Weinstein Company was set to release in this month, but has postponed, as well as Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D F. Scott Fitzgerald jazz-era drama “The Great Gatsby,” which Warner Bros. pushed from Christmas Day to summer 2013. Maguire stars as Nick Carraway opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher and Joel Edgerton.
Also planned is an indie from Craig Zobel, “Z for Zachariah.” Maguire has also been announced as joining old chum DiCaprio and Tom Hardy in developing an anti-poaching movie at Warners. Of the three stars, he’s the one most in need of a hit.