By Mack Chico
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire got out of a rabbit hole, only to be ensnared by a spider’s web.
Lindsay-Abaire, who won a Pulitzer in 2007 for his drama “Rabbit Hole,” is in final negotiations to write “Spider-Man 4” for Columbia.
Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire are back as director and star, respectively. Kirsten Dunst also is expected to return for the latest movie featuring the Marvel Comics character.
Plot details are under lock and key. Producer Laura Ziskin had said she would like to aim for a May 2011 release for “Spider-Man 4,” nine years after the original movie’s debut.
Columbia always has gone off the beaten path during the development process when hiring writers for the “Spider-Man” movies. Alvin Sargent, a veteran scribe best known for 1973’s “Paper Moon” and 1980’s “Ordinary People,” served as a writer on the second and third films. Michael Chabon, another Pulitzer winner, also worked on “Spider-Man 2.”
James Vanderbilt previously wrote a draft of “Spider-Man 4.”
Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole,” which starred Cynthia Nixon and Tyne Daly, hit the Broadway stage in 2006 and won four Tonys, including best play. The writer also is known for the play “Fuddy Meers.”
Lindsay-Abaire has said in interviews that his plays tend to be “peopled with outsiders in search of clarity,” which would put his work on sympathetic terms with Peter Parker, who in his classic incarnation is the perpetual outsider.
The choice of scribe also signals that that filmmakers are intent to focus on character, something that critics said got lost in the third installment.
Lindsay-Abaire, now writing the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical adaptation of “Shrek,” has dipped his toe in Tinseltown before, with his adaptation of “Inkheart” due in January. He is also adapting “Rabbit” for 20th Century Fox and Nicole Kidman.