As if Sony and Marvel reaching an agreement to share the rights to Spider-Man wasn’t enough of a surprise on its own, no one was prepared for one of the first pieces of casting news to come out of the deal.
Not long after young British actor Tom Holland was announced as the new Peter Parker/Spidey, Marvel stunned fans by casting Marisa Tomei as Peter’s Aunt May, the role previously portrayed by Sally Field in the two ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ films with Andrew Garfield, and Rosemary Harris in the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy with Tobey Maguire.
At 52, Tomei is clearly old enough to be the maternal guardian of 20-year old Holland, but given that she’s considerably younger than her predecessors and is renowned for her youthful good looks, the ‘My Cousin Vinny’ Oscar winner was hardly the most obvious candidate to play a traditionally frail and white-haired matriarch.
Now, Tomei herself admits having her doubts about her suitability for the role, and even suggesting that she should be ‘aged up’ (presumably via wigs and make-up) to look the part that bit more – but, as anyone who’s seen Tomei’s debut alongside Holland in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ can tell you, that didn’t happen.
Quizzed on the matter by Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, Colbert held up a picture of the traditional comic book Aunt May alongside Tomei, which made the difference painfully obvious.
Tomei laughed, “you can imagine my horror when I was cast, and I started doing the research. But I just decided, ‘I’m going to go with it.’ And I actually made a case to go with [the older look], to age me up. But they didn’t do it.”
Colbert retorted, “it’s good – it’s sexy Aunt May.” An assessment that many viewers, and of course Tony Stark, can heartily concur with.
In any case, some more recent representations of May Parker – notably in the ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ cartoon series – present a more youthful take on the character. 60 is the new 40, and all that.
Tomei returns as May alongside Tom Holland in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ opening 7 July.
Watch the full interview below.