Elizabeth Banks has revealed that she was deemed too old at 28 to play love interest Mary-Jane in Spider-Man.
The US actress and producer, now 42, did a screen test alongside Tobey Maguire for the 2002 film but was rejected for her age, despite being just 16 months older than the lead actor.
“I screen-tested for the role of Mary-Jane Watson in the first Spider-Man movie, opposite Tobey Maguire,” she told Glamour magazine. “Tobey and I are basically the same age and I was told I was too old to play her. I’m like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s what I’ve signed up for’.”
The role eventually went to Kirsten Dunst, who would have been around 20 at the time. Banks settled for a minor part as Daily Bugle secretary Betty Brant, which she played in a further two Spider-Man films.
Nowadays Banks is grateful for that fact that, unlike many young actresses, she was never a “flavour of the month” as it means she can enjoy longevity. Her interest lies primarily with character-based comedies and she recently directed Pitch Perfect 2, which grossed $285 million worldwide.
Banks is no longer directing the threequel, however, after turning down the job to spend more time with her family. “The new schedule butts up against my parental responsibilities in a way I’m not really comfortable with,” she said earlier this month.
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