Tobey Maguire Will Survive The End of the World in ‘Z for Zachariah’

Looking for an actor to play a nerdy science whiz who’s been exposed to dangerous radiation? Tobey Maguire’s your man.

Having survived three movies as a teen bitten by a radioactive arachnid in the Spider-Man series, Maguire will now produce and star in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Z for Zachariah, reports Variety. He’ll be working with the director of a controversial new independent movie that opens on Friday.

It’s the latest addition to a suddenly full plate for the 37-year-old star, who hasn’t been seen much since he handed Peter Parker’s webs over to Andrew Garfield.

Read more about Maguire’s latest thriller after the jump.

Z for Zachariah is based on the novel by Robert C. O’Brien about a teenage girl who believes she is the only person to have survived the apocalypse. But she soon finds a chilly scientist (the character Maguire is to play) swimming in a contaminated stream and nurses him back to health. A battle of wills ensues as he tries to play Adam and Eve with her.

The screenplay adaptation, by Nissar Modi, landed in 2009 on the Black List, the semi-official list circulating in Hollywood of the best unproduced screenplays.

Maguire hasn’t been seen on screen in three years, but September sees the release of his long-delayed dark comedy The Details, and next summer, he’ll appear opposite his pal Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in next summer’s The Great Gatsby. And he’s currently filming Jason Reitman’s thriller Labor Day. No word on when Z might go before the cameras.

Directing Z will be Craig Zobel, whose latest movie is the Sundance submission Compliance, starring Dreama Walker of the sitcom Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. It’s another story about a teen who faces off against a manipulative stranger. Compliance doesn’t open until Friday, but it’s already been the source of controversy (detailed here and here, for instance) that it blurs the line between art and humiliating exploitation.

In Hollywood, that just means the director has buzz and heat.

UPDATE: (Thursday, August 16, 10:00 a.m. EDT) Yet another item on Maguire’s increasingly lengthy to-do list: Pawn Sacrifice, a biopic of chess legend/reclusive weirdo Bobby Fischer, which Maguire will produce and star in. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the movie is one step closer to production now that Ed Zwick (Love and Other Drugs) has come aboard to direct, replacing David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).

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