EXCLUSIVE: Sam Raimi Reveals ‘Spider-Man 4’ Script Plans, Kirsten Dunst Uncertainty

With “Drag Me to Hell” rocking the socks off preview audiences and likely on its way to becoming one of the summer’s sleeper hits, director Sam Raimi can finally shift his focus back to the blockbuster franchise that made him a household name. And at the end of June, he’ll be ready to do exactly that with a newly-printed copy of Hollywood’s hottest screenplay.

“Right now, David Lindsay-Abaire, a New York playwright, is working on the screenplay,” Raimi said of the eagerly-anticipated “Spider-Man 4” script that will lay the blueprint for his film, due in theaters May 6, 2011. “He says that he’ll be done in about four weeks with his first draft. So that’s where I am right now. And I’m just about to hire a production skeleton.”

Those are Raimi’s first steps in the process of reviving a franchise that has grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide, but was seen by many as stalling out with 2007’s poorly-reviewed “Spider-Man 3” — even though that film made more than either of its predecessors.

“I’ve learned the value of brevity,” Raimi grinned when asked whether there were any lessons he’d be taking with him into the new flick. The run time for “Spider-Man 3” was 139 minutes, the longest of the series.

As Raimi and the returning Tobey Maguire look to take everyone’s favorite neighborhood webslinger into a fourth and possibly fifth movie, one major question looms unanswered: Will Kirsten Dunst return as Mary Jane Watson?

“Kirsten? I have talked with her, and she’s very excited about the possibility of it,” Raimi revealed, insisting that although Dunst is willing, it will be the director’s call to make after he reads the script by Lindsay-Abaire. “I think I’m going to have to read the screenplay and make sure everything we’ve talked about is working, before I could honestly tell you absolutely how [Dunst’s possible return] would go.”

Would you like to see Kirsten Dunst return for “Spider-Man 4”? What comic book storylines would you like Raimi and Lindsay-Abaire to work into the script?