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Andrew Garfield cast as the new Spider-Man

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andrew-garfieldWe have a new friendly neighborhood Spider-Man — and he’s British. Columbia Pictures confirms that Andrew Garfield, 26, has nabbed the highly sought-after role of Peter Parker after a worldwide search. Garfield, while largely unknown in the states, is one of the U.K.’s most highly regarded up-and-comers. He appeared in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus as well as John Crowley’s Boy A, for which he received a best actor BAFTA in 2008. He’s been getting heat in the U.S., too. This year the young Brit will be starring opposite Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake in the Facebook movie Social Network, directed by David Fincher, and will star in the Oscar-bait drama Never Let Me Go opposite Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Keira Knightley.

Garfield didn’t learn that he won the role until late this afternoon. The new webslinger was in Cancun, Mexico as part of Sony’s international media event to promote The Social Network. Sony honcho Amy Pascal called Garfield into her suite where director Marc Webb, Marvel’s Avi Arad, producer Laura Ziskin and Sony exec Matt Tolmach surprised the young actor with the news.

As recently as yesterday, web speculation was high that 17-year-old Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) would land the webslinger role, which was originated on the big screen by Tobey Maguire.