The little-known Andrew Garfield will play Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego in Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man reboot.

The studio made the announcement on Thursday afternoon [July 1] following a “comprehensive worldwide casting search.”

Filming is set to begin in early December in time for a July 3 2012 release in 3D. Marc Webb will direct from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt.  Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad are the producers.

“Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor’s work understand his extraordinary talents,” Webb said. “He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.”

Garfield most recently worked with director David Fincher on the upcoming film The Social Network and plays the lead opposite Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan in Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, which is also due for release later this year.

His screen credits include Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus, Robert Redford’s Lions For Lambs, Revolution Films’ Red Riding Trilogy – 1974, and his role in Boy A, which earned him the best actor BAFTA in 2008.

Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal and Matt Tolmach, who serves as Columbia Pictures president with Doug Belgrad, said in a statement: “The role demands an extraordinary actor. You need someone who can magically transform himself from Peter Parker into Spider-Man… We have found that actor in Andrew Garfield.”

Arad added that Garfield was “the perfect choice to take on this role and lead us into the future”, while Ziskin said the youngster possessed “the right mix of humour, youth, and pathos, along with an underlying sense of strength and power necessary to bring Peter Parker and Spider-Man to life on screen.”