John Malkovich And Anne Hathaway As Spider-Man 4's Vulture And... Vulturess?

This is where those Black Cat stories from a few weeks back get really interesting. It's also where some purists start throwing little fits.

New reports have John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway in the frame for roles in the new Spider-Man picture as father and daughter villains. Malkovich would be playing The Vulture, and Hathaway would be playing The Vulturess.

The who...? You might be surprised, if not outright appalled, when you read just who she is...

According to Movieline, Hathaway would indeed be playing Felicia Hardy, the comics character also known as Black Cat. In this version of events, however, she won't be going feline but will instead "become a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess".

The first report on there being a father-daughter villain team up actually would have pointed straight at the Vulture if somebody had a better memory. A source at the time kept referring to the character as "Viper", not Vulture. So close.

Now, there's no reason this rejig won't work brilliantly but I still bet Raimi and Co. get it in the neck. Frankly, fidelity towards the source material is ludicrously over-protected by comics fanpeeps who seem to be missing the bigger picture. Who cares if we get Black Cat or Vulturess? Shouldn't we simply care that the end result is smart, purposeful, well made and engaging? With Raimi, David Lindsay-Abaire and Gary Ross pulling the strings I think I'd be happy to bet the shirt off of my back on this one.

Hathaway has already been linked to the role, back when we assumed Felicia would be wearing a slinky cat suit and not some sort of birdy get-up. Malkovich is a new name to the Spider-game, to the best of my knowledge. I like both of them a great deal and think they can hit the required tone perfectly.

I wonder if this new Felicia will also have the white hair? Not terribly Vulture-y, is it? But then, it wasn't too Cat-y either. I dare say the cleavage costume will go relatively unchanged, perhaps just recoloured into green. It might be like the Norman and Harry hand-me-down all over again.

Movieline's piece also discusses the exclusion of The Lizard, a villain that the entire series seems to be building towards. According to them, "the suits simply can't bring themselves to sign off on such an odd-looking enemy". Is there no concept artist out there who could make this thing work for the witless executives?

Note that all information is pointing to Malkovich's character taking over The Daily Bugle. That's another continuity change from the comics, I believe. Again, I could care less as long as it works in the context of the movie.