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Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker: great choice! It bodes well for two movies: the reboot of "Spider-Man," scheduled for 3-D release two years from now, and David Fincher's "The Social Network," due out this fall, inspired by Ben Mezrich's "The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook -- A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal." Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, once the best friend and partner of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg). Garfield's footage from "The Social Network" led Sony and Columbia Pictures to test him for "Spider-Man."

I watched Garfield and Eisenberg shoot a small part of Aaron "West Wing" Sorkin's script for "The Social Network" under Fincher's direction at Johns Hopkins last November (with Hopkins standing in for Harvard). You could tell that Eisenberg, as the socially clueless Zuckerberg, and Garfield, as the affable Saverin, were avoiding all the film cliches of healthy and unhealthy buddyhood -- they were neither Butch and Sundance nor Leopold and Loeb.

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Garfield had already gone to that latter extreme when he won widespread attention in the 2007 British TV-film "Boy A" (above): He played a young man released from prison after a lengthy term for an atrocity he committed when he was a child. Garfield pulled off a death-defying act of imagination as a profoundly troubled character who manages to get a job and fall in love -- but is never sure that he really is his case worker's "greatest accomplishment." It won him the best actor award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Catch up to that film and Garfield will convince you that he's capable of anything -- including playing an insecure boy-man who's also a web-slinging superhero. What do you think of this dynamite casting news?

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