Sony's Kraven The Hunter Adds Alessandro Nivola As New Villain

Sony is learning again and again that superhero movies are the ticket. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" set records left and right, becoming a "cultural phenomenon" for 2021. Surprise rom-com "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" is still the talk of the water cooler, and made more than $500 million globally. Dr. Morbius would have more to add to the conversation, once he can get to the theater. In the meantime, the studio is whittling away at one of its highly-anticipated productions.

Adding to its growing stable of Marvel movies, Sony's latest superhero picture is focusing on one of Spider-Man's greatest foes, Russian immigrant Sergei Kravinoff, and they've just added a baddie to the roster. Alessandro Nivola, who recently played gangster Dickie Moltisanti in Alan Taylor's "The Many Saints of Newark," has joined the cast of "Kraven the Hunter" in an antagonistic role opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Rounding out the cast so far, still in its early stages, are Ariana DeBose ("West Side Story"), Russell Crowe ("Master and Commander"), and Fred Hechinger ("The White Lotus"). Beyond being the movie's villain, Nivola's role in the film is being kept under wraps for the time being. The studio is aiming to release the film on January 13, 2023, and it's being helmed by J.C. Chandor ("A Most Violent Year") with a screenplay by Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, and Richard Wenk.

Who is Kraven?

Crafted by legendary writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, Kraven the Hunter is a formidable adversary for Spidey. First appearing back in 1964, right around the time that the Beatles began their invasion tour of North America and sang "Can't Buy Me Love" to screaming fans across the continent, big game predator and Soviet immigrant strongman Sergei Kravinoff was a founder of the Sinister Six and a long-running staple in Spider-Man's list of ne'er-do-wells. Occasionally, his prey wears a cape or a mask, setting the stage for alliances with the likes of Doctor Octopus and using his enhanced physical abilities to go toe-to-toe with Spidey and Co., including Squirrel Girl and Miles Morales. He sometimes works in tandem with his half-brother, master of disguise Chameleon (who, by the way, is canonically the first bad guy Peter Parker faces down as Spider-Man, showing up in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #1 back in 1963). This is thought to be the role that Fred Hechinger might be playing in the film, though another version of the villain (let's call him a variant), played by Numan Acar, showed up in "Spider-Man: Far From Home." 

"Kraven The Hunter" arrives in theaters on January 13, 2023.