Comingsoon.net is reporting that actor John Malkovich has confirmed he is to play the Vulture in "Spider-Man 4." Malkovich confirmed the news with an Italian sports program.
Coming Soon quotes an English transcript of the appeareance made available by Italian film site BadTaste.it. According to that site, "When conductor Simona Ventura asked him about his role of Vulture in the movie, he not only didn't deny his involvement, but confirmed that he's waiting for the final script to be sent to him, and that the movie has been delayed. He also hopes that shooting will begin as soon as possible."
This comes on the heels of a difficult couple of weeks for the film. 2010 began with the production officially being put on hold, which was first rumored in mid-December. Rival studio Paramount moved its Marvel-based actioner "Thor" to the May 6th 2011 spot formerly held by "Spider-Man 4." This move caused a number of other films to shuffle about the Summer 2011 schedule with "Spider-Man 4" left in the dust. Sony is still trying to hold onto the date, but it is doubtful the film can recover its footing in time.
The Malkovich rumor surfaced in early December at Movieline. A mere ten days later, whispers of the delay appeared which Sony officially dismissed as a holiday break.
The Vulture, as a character, is also at the heart of the delay. Director Sam Raimi has wanted to include the character since "Spider-Man 3." He was prevailed upon by Sony executives to use Venom instead. Raimi appears intent on using the Vulture in this film, but Sony reportedly dislikes the character and would prefer any other character to face off against Spider-Man. Unfortunately, reports also state Sony has no viable option to offer Raimi in lieu of the Vulture.
While Malkovich's involvement has not been confirmed by Sony, his willingness to discuss it with a European news outlet would indicate the Vulture is deeply involved in the story of "Spider-Man 4."