Before appearing as Betty Brant in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, Pitch Perfect 2 director Elizabeth Banks has revealed that she originally auditioned for the Mary-Jane role in Spider-Man, only to be turned down because she was considered “too old” for the part.
That’s according to Banks herself, who told Glamour magazine that despite being 28 at the time – making her only 16 months older than lead star Tobey Maguire – it was ultimately Kirsten Dunst that landed the coveted role of Mary-Jane Watson across Raimi’s superhero series.
“I screen-tested for the role of Mary-Jane Watson in the first Spider-Man movie, opposite Tobey Maguire … Tobey and I are basically the same age and I was told I was too old to play her. I’m like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s what I’ve signed up for’.”
Beyond the world of costumed heroes, Elizabeth Banks has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s bankable leading ladies, dipping her toe into producing with Pitch Perfect and later directing with its overly successful sequel, Pitch Perfect 3.
Scheduling conflicts may have resulted in the actress-director bowing out of directing duties on Universal’s 2017 threequel, but Banks has a handful of other high-profile and exciting roles in the pipeline, including Lionsgate’s Power Rangers and the planned Ocean’s Eleven reboot – said to be codenamed Ocean’s Ocho – alongside Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling.
In terms of Marvel’s universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into theaters on July 7, 2017. Elizabeth Banks, meanwhile, will next be seen as the menacing Rita Repulsa when Power Rangers arrives on March 24, 2017.