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No “Spider-Man” Sequel for Maguire?

Word spread through Hollywood yesterday that Tobey Maguire might not reprise his role as the web-slinging Marvel Comics superhero in the Spider-Man sequel for different reasons, including physical problems and salary dispute.

But Kelly Bush, Maguire’s spokeswoman, told The Hollywood Reporter that Maguire has been preparing for the role of Peter Parker, working out and showing up for special effects meetings.

“After doing two physically demanding films in a row, Tobey has experienced mild discomfort in his back, which is in the final stages of healing,” Bush said. “With an April 12 start date around the corner, everyone involved wants to be certain he is able to do the intense stunts.”

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In February, Maguire finished a four month shoot of Universal Pictures Seabiscuit, a horse racing pic that required him to lose weight and spend a lot of time on horseback. A Universal spokesperson said there were no major injuries on the set.

Delaying production on the sequel could prove difficult for the film’s studio Columbia Pictures. The Amazing Spider-Man was originally slated to begin shooting in January but was pushed to April so that Maguire could complete work on Seabiscuit. Co-star Kirsten Dunst, meanwhile, is scheduled to begin production this summer on the tennis film Wimbledon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, rumor has it Dunst’s real-life boyfriend, actor Jake Gyllenhaal, could replace Maguire, although a CAA spokesperson said the actor has never been offered the part.

Last month, Maguire’s agents renegotiated a $17 million salary for the actor, more than four times what he earned for the original Spider-Man, which grossed more than $400 million domestically.

The Spider-Man sequel is set to be released May 7, 2004.

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