Elizabeth Banks Was Deemed ‘Too Old’ For ‘Spider-Man’

Elizabeth Banks at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on June 7. The actress played Betty Brant in the 2002 movie "Spider-Man" after auditioning for Mary Jane Parker. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, June 23 (UPI) — Elizabeth Banks was deemed “too old” for the 2002 movie “Spider-Man.”

The 42-year-old actress revealed as much in an interview with Glamour U.K. amid growing concern about ageism in Hollywood.

“I screen-tested for the role of Mary Jane Watson in the first “Spider-Man” movie, opposite Tobey Maguire,” she said. “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.'”

Banks and Maguire were 26 and 25 years old, respectively, when an 18-year-old Kirsten Dunst landed the role of Mary Jane. Banks instead played Daily Bugle reporter Betty Brant in the “Spider-Man” trilogy starring Maguire.

“I was a nobody. I had no expectations of even being in that movie,” she told reporters in 2008. “The casting director called and said, ‘As a consolation prize, essentially, do you want to be Betty Brant?'”

Olivia Wilde and Maggie Gyllenhaal are among the other actresses who have been deemed “too old” for roles. Wilde missed out on “The Wolf of Wall Street,” while Gyllenhaal was turned down for an unnamed project.

“I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55,” Gyllenhaal told The Wrap in 2015. “It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Banks went on to play Effie Trinket in “The Hunger Games” film series and star in and produce the “Pitch Perfect” movies. She will portray Rita Repulsa in “Power Rangers,” which opens March 24, 2017.


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