Topher Grace has joined the cast of Spider-Man 3, it was announced by director Sam Raimi and producers Laura Ziskin and Marvel Studio's Avi Arad. Grace will join Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, and Thomas Haden Church in the blockbuster franchise.
Spider-Man 3 is scheduled for release on May 4, 2007, and will reunite returning cast members with director Sam Raimi and producers Ziskin and Arad, the successful filmmaking team responsible for the first two films.
The Spider-Man film franchise has grossed more than $1.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales to date. Production on Spider-Man 3, which was written by Alvin Sargent, is scheduled to begin early next year.
"I couldn't be more excited about the direction we are taking the continuing adventures of Peter Parker," said Raimi. "Topher Grace is an extraordinarily talented actor and will be perfect for the complexities of the role we are developing."
While speculation continues about which characters will be called into action, the studio will not comment on the new roles beyond confirming the casting of Grace and Church.
Spider-Man 3 is being overseen by Columbia's President of Production Matt Tolmach and Shannon Gaulding, Director of Development for the studio.
Grace, who has been a weekly fixture in homes across America in the hit comedy series "That '70s Show" for the last 7 years, is seamlessly transitioning from the small screen to the big screen. Testament to his success, he has recently been prized with Breakthrough Acting awards by both the National Board of Review and the New York Online Film Critics, for his starring roles in Paul Weitz's In Good Company and Dylan Kidd's "P.S."
Last winter, Grace starred opposite Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson in In Good Company. And in "P.S.," which premiered at this fall's Toronto Film Festival, he starred as the romantic lead opposite Laura Linney in an off-beat romantic comedy adapted from the Helen Schulman novel by the same name.
Grace's major breakthrough on film came with his debut role in Setven Soderbergh's Oscar nominated movie Traffic, which he followed-up with a memorable cameo in the Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven. He also reprises his role, as himself, in the sequel Ocean's Twelve. Earlier this year he could be seen in Robert Luketic's romantic comedy "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton," alongside Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel. Before that, he was in last winter's Mona Lisa Smile, opposite Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Marcia Gay Harden.
He fell into acting in high school in which he starred in plays such as "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum." After high school, he moved out to Los Angeles for college and soon embarked on his acting career with a starring role on "That '70s Show," remarkably sans prior industry experience. He currently resides in Los Angeles.