Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Return of the Webslinger

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Return of the Webslinger

Article excerpt

Byline: By Eobin Walker

Tobey Maguire is slowly coming to terms with the web of stardom he now finds himself in. But as he tells Robin Walker he always had faith he'd make it.

It's not often the love life of a young actor is credited with helping deter a potentially career-damaging decision.

But dating the daughter of a big studio boss played a part in keeping Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man's webslinger outfit for a second time.

It has been one of the big stories in Hollywood this past year how a bad back almost had Tobey, the star of Spider-Man, replaced for Spider-Man 2 by another boyish-looking young riser Jake Gyllenhaal.

Incidentally Jake, in another twist to the story, is the current boyfriend of Tobey's ex-girlfriend and Spider-Man 2 co-star Kirsten Dunst.

After his appearance in Oscar-nominated horse racing drama Seabiscuit, Tobey's back pains meant there were worries he wouldn't be able to do the comic super-hero's stunt work.

For a few weeks he was even reportedly off the project. Fortunately for the 29-year-old, his back healed a few weeks before principal photography began last year.

So instead of joining the ranks of Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer ( who walked away from Batman ( Tobey is still fronting the hugely successful franchise.

One of those who convinced Tobey he'd be making a mistake to let go of the role was Universal chief Ron Meyer, whose daughter Jennifer the 29-year-old Californian is dating.

Instead a repentant Tobey has pocketed a $17m pay packet and will very likely front the planned third Spider-Man film.

Tobey admitted last year he nearly made a big mistake. "I feel like I learned a lesson, the movie is the most important thing."

There was talk that the talented young actor's growing success may have gone to his head or even that it was a ploy for a better deal. Instead he got a reality check from a business that reminded him no one's indispensable.

But Tobey maintains that back problems have troubled him for several years. "Sometimes it irritates me more than other times. Coming out of Seabiscuit it was really bugging me."

The whole thing blew up because he disclosed his problem, he says. …

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