Something which quickly became apparent when Marvel and Sony were putting together Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s massive cast was just how diverse it is. Peter Parker’s high school classmates are made up of a number of different races with characters like Ned Leeds, Flash Thompson, and possibly Mary Jane Watson (if Zendaya really is playing her) no longer portrayed as being white as they were in the comic books.
That reflects modern society – and Queens – in a very real way, of course, and in a new interview, Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts spoke in depth about his casting decision and why he felt it was necessary to surround the wall-crawler with a variety of faces.
“That was a big part of my pitch. The very first thing I made was a look book of what I wanted the world to look like and what the kids should look like and the high school should look like. I lived in New York for thirteen years and it should look like a school in New York, it shouldn’t look like a school in the Midwest in the 50s. So I pulled a bunch of pictures of kids and documentary photos of kids in schools, and that was part of my pitch and everyone was really into that and followed through with the casting, which is so, so cool, I love the kids.”
The filmmaker then went on to point out that it was ultimately a case of not casting an actor for the colour of their skin but because they were right for the role.
“We just put them on tape and sometimes it was, there were some situations were a kid was just great and there wasn’t a specific role for them but because it’s a high school we can have so many kids,” said Watts. “It was an opportunity to be like ‘Well this kid is great, we don’t have a specific role for them but maybe we should create a small role for them or think of a way to incorporate them in some other capacity.’”
It’s hard to fault that approach and considering the fact many fans were hoping a non-white actor would be cast as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, this increased level of diversity should make people happy. It will also add some authenticity to the movie and that’s definitely no bad thing.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is shaping up to be pretty exciting and its cast is a definite highlight. We still don’t know who exactly many of the young actors are playing here, but it’s going to be interesting learning whether they’re familiar faces from the source material or characters created specifically for the high school-set reboot.
Either way, all will be revealed on July 7th.