CENTURY CITY, California — When the Hollywood gods bless an actor with a blockbuster that puts his work in front of practically the entire planet, tremendous care must be taken in selecting a follow-up project. If chosen correctly, a post-”Spider-Man” film like “Seabiscuit” can remind the world that Tobey Maguire is a heavyweight actor with skills beyond a stretchy red suit. If chosen incorrectly, the success of “Star Wars” can render a movie like “Corvette Summer” a footnote on Mark Hamill’s résumé, leaving the actor unable to do anything for decades that doesn’t involve an Ewok.
Following its June 28 release, millions of moviegoers will find time for “Superman Returns.” With that in mind, stars Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey offered MTV News a sneak peek at how they hope to follow up the most high-profile film of 2006.
“I’m doing a film called ‘Seasons of Dust,’ ” Kate Bosworth beamed. “It’s very small, and it’s different than this — very different.”
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Potentially amazing is the game plan being laid out by Kevin Spacey, who gleefully steals much of “Superman” with his over-the-top portrayal of the villainous Lex Luthor. While it could be argued that the two Oscars acting as bookends on Spacey’s mantelpiece prove that he needn’t worry about striking while the iron is hot, that hasn’t stopped the star from lining up a pair of diverse projects.
First up, Spacey will shoot “Joe Claus,” a Vince Vaughn comedy that sounds like “Bad Santa” meets “Elf.” “It’s the story of Santa Claus’ younger brother, who never got any credit,” Spacey laughed. “Paul Giamatti plays Santa Claus, Vince Vaughn plays Joe Claus and I play an efficiency expert who comes up to the North Pole and might farm out the work to another country.”
Spacey said the tension in the film occurs when Joe Claus moves to the North Pole while Santa is dealing with his elves’ inefficiency. “They aren’t working out too well,” the actor grinned. “It’s a very funny script and an opportunity to do something that is just great work.”
Shooting down his rumored involvement in the drama “My Blueberry Nights” — “I am not making that movie,” Spacey said — he instead unveiled “21,” a biopic based on a heavily chronicled true story. “[It's the story of] the M.I.T. students who learned the art of card counting at the game of 21, then went to Vegas and took it for millions,” the actor said of the film he’ll star in and produce.
As told in the book “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions,” the film will portray the students as they went to class on weekdays and played blackjack on the weekends during the 1990s, employing complicated techniques of deception and communication. “I play the teacher that teaches them how to count the cards,” Spacey said of the flick, which will begin filming soon. “I’m producing it through my production company, Trigger Street, and Robert Luketic, who did ‘Legally Blonde,’ is directing.”
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Obviously, no discussion of “Superman Returns” would be complete without a mention of the new Man of Steel. Acknowledging that the “What’s next?” pressure will weigh the greatest on him, the 26-year-old Routh said he will be very careful while making his choice.
“It is important to get different roles and to be seen in a different light,” Routh said. “I am an actor. To go too far in one way is … what does that do to the character of Superman? All these things are thoughts in my head.
“I’m an artist first and foremost, and there are great things out there,” he continued. “I’ve read some awesome things, and if there’s nothing there that I like, I can always create something.”
In the meantime, the only flick that Routh’s résumé boasts in some stage of production is “Karla,” a serial-killer film that stars Laura Prepon (“That ’70s Show”) and was banned from the Montreal Film Festival. “That’s a very small film,” Routh said of the September release. “I haven’t actually seen it. I’m in that film for a blink of an eye.”
Faster than a speeding bullet, Routh, Bosworth and Spacey will soon become the overnight kings of Hollywood. Only time will tell if their follow-up projects will be every bit as super.
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