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ast Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker / Spider-Man: A superhero, a brilliant physics student at Columbia University, and photographer for the Daily Bugle. As he grows arrogant with the city starting to embrace him for the first time in his career, an alien symbiote attaches itself to Peter's costume and influences his behavior for the worse. Maguire said he relished the opportunity to play a less timid Peter in this film. Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson: Peter Parker's girlfriend and a Broadway actress, whom he has loved since childhood. Mary Jane has a string of bad luck in the film, reminiscent of Peter's misfortune in Spider-Man 2, struggling in her career because of negative reviews and losing her friend when the symbiote takes him over. James Franco as Harry Osborn / New Goblin: The son of Norman Osborn, and Peter Parker's best friend, who believes Spider-Man murdered his father. After learning Peter is Spider-Man and that
Norman was the Green Goblin, Harry becomes the New Goblin to battle his former friend directly. "Villains with a conscience have this sad realization of who they are, and the monster they've become — there's a sense of regret. So at the end of these movies there's a dramatic resonance that really stays with the audience." —Thomas Haden Church on Sandman Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko / Sandman: A small-time thug who has a wife and sick daughter, for whom he steals money to help get the treatment to cure her. He transforms into the Sandman following a freak accident and incurs Peter's wrath when Peter learns he was his Uncle Ben's true killer. Church was approached for Sandman because of his award-winning performance in the film Sideways, and accepted the role despite the lack of a script at the time. The film's Sandman possesses sympathy similarly exhibited by Lon Chaney Jr. in his portrayals of misunderstood creatures, as well as F
rankenstein's monster, the Golem, and Andy Serkis' portrayals of Gollum and King Kong. Church worked out for sixteen months to improve his physique for the role, gaining 28 pounds of muscle and losing ten pounds of fat. Church reprises the role again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Topher Grace as Edward "Eddie" Brock Jr. / Venom: Peter's rival at the Daily Bugle. He is exposed by Peter for creating a fake incriminating image of Spider-Man, and leaps at the opportunity to exact his revenge when he bonds with an extraterrestrial symbiote. Grace had impressed the producers with his performance in the film In Good Company. A big comic book fan who read the first Venom stories as a boy, Grace spent six months working out to prepare for the role, gaining twenty-four pounds of muscle. He approached the character as someone under the influence, similar to an alcoholic or drug addict, and interpreted him as having a bad childhood,
which is the key difference between him and Peter. Grace found his costume unpleasant, as it had to be constantly smeared to give a liquid-like feel. The costume took an hour to put on, though prosthetics took four hours to apply. Grace also wore fangs, which bruised his gums. Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy: Peter's lab partner. He asks her out to embarrass Mary Jane when possessed by the symbiote. Howard said the challenge of playing the role was in reminding many fans of the good-natured character who was Peter's first love in the comics, yet was "the other woman" in the film. Howard strived to create a sense that Gwen could potentially be a future girlfriend for him, and that, "I was not acting like some kind of man-stea