Marisa Tomei on Playing Aunt May in ‘Spider-Man’ and Typecasting

Actress Marisa Tomei

“I’m always fighting whatever stereotypes one gets into and trying to change it up.” – Marisa Tomei

Say what you want about Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei playing Aunt May in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it is definitely casting against type and an early sign that this Spider-Man movie wasn’t going to retread much of the previous movie versions of the character. In an interview with the New York Times, Tomei talks about being unfamiliar with the character and how she purposely tries to subvert stereotypes in order to avoid typecasting.

Tomei admits that when she signed to appear as Aunt May in a brief scene in Captain America: Civil War, she did not know that May is typically depicted as an elderly woman in the comics. She explains, “I was horrified. Talk about crushed. [Laughs] I went through the whole negotiation without knowing. They just kept saying ‘an iconic character, an iconic character.’ It sounds kind of ridiculous, but it all happened very quickly. It was right before Captain America: Civil War was shooting. Everything happened within maybe 10 days. But I was more focused on my deal, honestly. And then, the illustration was revealed to me.”

Though she plays a much-younger version of Aunt May in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tomei does recognize that actors often face casting issues as they age — but she points out that she makes an effort to diversify her projects. She says, “They get depressed. Morose. Bitter. [Laughs] No, we’re staying away from that. I did two plays this past year [The Rose Tattoo at the Williamstown Theater Festival and How to Transcend a Happy Marriage for Lincoln Center Theater], and Spider-Man. All of them were very rich experiences and very different. Of course, I’m always fighting whatever stereotypes one gets into and trying to change it up. Not because of some cerebral approach to it, but more from a soulful approach. As you can see in this, my big stretch is being from Brooklyn but playing from Queens.”

For example, Tomei flexed her acting range by playing a rare villainous role on TV’s Empire, which she admits was a challenge for her. She reveals, “It was also challenging to me, to be that authoritative and bitchy, really. The suits helped. I’ve played a handful of sunny people, and I’d like to do something where I get to be either obnoxious or dark and angry. It’s hard for me to feel that way. That’s a whole other psychological dive, I suppose.”

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Linnea-Berthelsen-Stranger-Things.jpg
Linnea Berthelse on Her ‘Stranger Things’ Audition and Keeping Her Role a Secret for a Year
“Sometimes when actors don’t get the part, it’s not always about an actor being a bad actor; it’s about connecting to the material.” – Linnea Berthelsen Stranger Things is back on our screens with its second season, something fans have been waiting for ever since season one arrived on Netflix in 2016. Returning to the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/jonathan-groff-hamilton.jpg
Jonathan Groff on Playing King George III in ‘Hamilton’: “I rehearsed for about a day, and then went into the show”
Can you even imagine stepping into a role in one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time with barely any time to prepare?
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/lina-esco-swat.jpg
Lina Esco on Playing the Only Female Officer on ‘S.W.AT.’: “I have to portray her as someone equal to all of the guys on her team”
"The important thing for me when I read scripts is how much respect I have for the character and how far I can take her" - Lina Esco
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/sam-rockwell-three-billboards.jpg
Sam Rockwell on Typecasting and One of His Worst Auditions
"I’m kind of a workhorse. It takes a toll" - Sam Rockwell
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/rachel-bloom-crazy-ex-girlfriend.jpg
Rachel Bloom: “The way that I learned comedy was not rigid, but this very specific technique taught by the Upright Citizens Brigade”
"I went from being a person who was doing moderately successful videos online and working as a moderately successful TV writer and aspiring to do this to having a Golden Globe." - Rachel Bloom