Spider-Man cast and crew talk Zendaya’s role in the film
Just days before we visited the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the news broke. Fans had often speculated it beforehand, but once it was reported that Zendaya’s role in the film was secretly none other than Mary Jane Watson, it was hard to get that genie back in a bottle.
Throughout our time on the set, the question was posed, whether it was true or not, but the tight lips at Marvel would never say it was; in fact, producer Eric Carroll promised the following:
“I can tell you that Zendaya is playing a character named Michelle, and that I promise you when the movie comes out her name is Michelle.”
Not that the production didn’t have fun with the rumors and theories circulating the internet.
“They’re usually wrong, so it’s really fun to watch people respond to all these incorrect rumors and reveal a lot of other things that they think might be going on,” director Jon Watts said with a laugh. “It’s like being a magician because you’re like ‘Nah, nah, nope. Oh? Close! Nope, wrong again.’ Then every once in a while someone will have a crazy theory or a weird idea and then you’re like ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool. Can we do that? Is it too late? Can we figure out a way to write that in?’ I love it.”
Star Tom Holland also chimed in about the “controversy” and how Zendaya wouldn’t let it affect her.
“This whole, you can’t cast someone who’s not of the right race for a character and such, I really feel like we’re breaking through and changing that. And Z is perfect. She’s so strong willed, it’s not going to shake her at all.
Holland went on to describe “Michelle” as well, and her relationship with Peter and the other kids.
“Michelle is a very interesting character,” he said. “We’ll be doing a scene with all of the other cast members, and then she’ll sort of pitch in and we’ll be like, ‘That was a strange thing to say,’ and then we’ll continue on with our dialogue. It’s a very fun character, and Z has really brought a lot of herself to the character.”
Watts chimed in later about what makes the character so fun to him, saying:
“I always thought of her as being a version of Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, what Linda Cardellini is like in Freaks and Geeks, it’s just a cool character and it’s cool for her to be that character. She has a really cool wardrobe, really funny, lots of literary nods. I like the idea that she’s a real reader and bookish. She always has a big pile of books she’s carrying around, which I picked and obsessed over.”
One of those books, according to Tom Holland, is “How to murder someone without no one knowing,” a fact that Watts disputed.
The casting of Zendaya, arguably one of the biggest stars to a younger generation, was amusing though from a behind-the-scenes standpoint as well as producer Amy Pascal (former head of Sony Pictures), who revealed she and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige hadn’t heard of her.
“When Kevin and I looked at her screen test… oh god, maybe I can’t say this… we didn’t know who she was! There was this girl, she was the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen and we were like looking at it and she was so fine and so smart and savvy and poised and she had no make-up on… and we just looked at it after we shot it and we were like, ‘She’s really fine,’ and they were like, ‘She’s really famous.’ But she’s been blowing us away every day.”
“I knew of her, but I knew that she was on K.C. Undercover,” Watts said. “It was funny because then you Google her and you see she’s a cover girl and is so glamorous. She just came in and read on tape for just whoever because we were doing open readings, and she was so different than what I think anyone expected and was just really down to Earth and really relatable.”
After seeing her audition, Watts had just one thought: “She’s gotta be in the movie in some capacity.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into theaters on July 7. For more coverage from the set visit, click here.[Gallery not found]