A story in the Hollywood Reporter says that Maguire — who previously worked with Lee in the dysfunctional-’70s-family drama “The Ice Storm” — had shot a small part in the film as a writer who interviews Pi, the shipwreck story’s protagonist. However, Lee reportedly decided to cut Maguire because his well-known face may have been too distracting among a cast of largely unknown actors.
Lee tells THR: “To be consistent with the other casting choices made for the film, I decided to go with an entirely international cast. I very much admire Tobey and look forward to working with him again in the future.”
Maguire also released a congenial, non-bitter statement: “I fully support Ang’s decision to go a different direction for this role in Life of Pi. Ang shared a lot of the film with me, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful.”
Presumably Lee’s decision was made a while ago. But with “Life of Pi” set to premiere this month at the New York Film Festival, the team behind it may have wanted to explain the Maguire situation now so it can be put to rest before awards season amps up.
For the record, Maguire’s role has been filled by actor Rafe Spall, who has never been Spider-Man but did star in the film “Anonymous,” and therefore is not distracting at all.