LOS ANGELES – There's a new Spider-Man in town.
Andrew Garfield, whose credits include last year's Heath Ledger film "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," has been cast as Peter Parker, the average youth who transforms into a superhero, in the next "Spider-Man" movie, distributor Sony Pictures announced Thursday.
The as-yet-untitled "Spider-Man" film begins shooting in December and is due in theaters July 3, 2012. Marc Webb, who made the romance "(500) Days of Summer" is directing.
Garfield and Webb got the jobs after star Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi, who made three blockbuster "Spider-Man" films together, departed amid story and scheduling issues over a fourth movie.
"Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor's work understand his extraordinary talents," Webb said. "He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker."
Among Garfield's other credits are director David Fincher's upcoming "The Social Network," about the founders of Facebook, and Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan's upcoming drama, "Never Let Me Go." Garfield also starred in the acclaimed British drama "Boy A."
Garfield was born in the United States, but was raised in England.
"In the Spider-Man tradition, we were looking for a smart, sensitive, and cool new Peter Parker who can inspire us and make us laugh, cry, and cheer," said Avi Arad, one of the producers on the "Spider-Man" franchise. "We believe we have found the perfect choice to take on this role and lead us into the future."
The new film, which will be shot in 3-D, focuses on a younger Peter Parker, the Marvel Comics hero who gains superpowers after he's bitten by a radioactive spider.