Paul Giamatti has done many fine film performances, in a variety of genres. Now he is in talks to play his most atypical role yet…The super-villain Rhino in the sequel to the Amazing Spider-Man. If he does officially get the role, he’ll round out an already excellent cast.
Paul Giamatti seems like an unusual choice to play the Rhino in the Spider-Man sequel. The comic book villain was conceived as a big thug from the Soviet Union who wore an exo-skeleton covered in something that looked like rhino-hide, which made him nearly invulnerable, while also giving him super-strength and super-speed. If that wasn’t enough, he also had a deadly horn on top of his head, which could pierce almost anything. The character first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #41 in 1966 but then switched into being an enemy for the Incredible Hulk for a time, before he eventually became a more sympathetic figure who found himself occasionally teaming up with his former foe Spider-Man.
Giamatti admits to growing up a comic book reader and says that he always enjoyed appearances by the Rhino. In a March interview, he said, “I thought Rhino was the greatest thing when I was a little kid. It was a guy who was basically in this rhinoceros outfit, and I always thought, ‘Why don’t they have The Rhino in one of their movies.’ But maybe The Rhino wasn’t that big of a deal for anybody but me. … If they ever go with The Rhino, I would be ready and waiting.”
Giamatti talked about the character on Conan: “The Rhino was fantastic," he said. "He was, like, a Russian guy. He was real fast, and he hit stuff real hard." The Rhino will share evil duties with another long-time comic book baddie; Jamie Fox is scheduled to appear as the high-voltage villain Electro.
The sequel is being directed by Marc Webb, and will hopefully begin filming this February. If Giamatti gets the part, he will join an already strong cast of talented actors. Aside from the return of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy, and Foxx as evil Electro, the movie also boasts Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson, and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborne.
Rob Young is a freelance writer/editor and a walking encyclopedia of movie and TV trivia.