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''Spider-Man'''s director has a few tricks up his sleeve

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Alicia Witt
Witt: Tom Rodriguez/Globe

WEB SEARCH Now that Tobey Maguire has signed on to the long delayed ”Spider-Man,” director Sam Raimi is looking to put a little love in the cartoon hero’s life. Raimi admits he’s smitten with the idea of Alicia Witt as the sexy Mary Jane, but says ”there are still other actresses I have left to interview.”

As for the nefarious Green Goblin, with first choice Nicolas Cage unavailable, Raimi’s hoping to snag the ever menacing John Malkovich. An even scarier thought for some fans may be that Raimi is — yikes — modifying Spider-Man’s classic red and blue bodysuit: ”I can’t say [it] will be what the kids have seen in comic books.” Now there’s a costume drama.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE Director Jay Roach (”Austin Powers”) may have too much of a good thing, thanks to the monster opening of ”Meet the Parents.” Not only is he supervising the sequel, ”Meet the Fockers,” but he’s also attempting to rescue his pet project, an adaptation of the comic sci-fi novel ”The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which is being put in turnaround by Disney.

”It’s quirky and expensive and it’s hard to sell,” says Roach, who estimates that the film would cost between $85 and $100 million. ”It’s a risk,” he admits, ”but ‘Austin Powers’ was rejected at every studio before New Line took it.” One sure thing is the plot of the ”Parents” sequel, which will be written by ”Parents’ coscreenwriter Jim Herzfeld: ”This time, De Niro goes to meet Ben Stiller’s family,” Roach says. ”I’m not sure of all the dynamics yet, but it will definitely be a predicament.”

(Additional reporting by William Keck and Thom Geier)

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