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Elizabeth Banks Says She Was Deemed ‘Too Old’ for 2002 ‘Spider-Man’ Role

Elizabeth Banks
Peter Brooker/REX/Shutterstock

Elizabeth Banks didn’t need “Spidey sense” to pick up on signs of age discrimination when she auditioned for Mary Jane Watson in 2002’s “Spider-Man” at the age of 28.

“Tobey and I are basically the same age — and I was told I was too old to play her,” Banks told Glamour UK, referring to the film’s lead, Tobey Maguire, who is about 16 months her junior. “I was like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s what I’ve signed up for,'” she said.

The role would go to Kirsten Dunst, who was 18 years old. Banks was cast in the film, but in a supporting part.

Banks’ anecdote is the latest coming from a number of actresses who have spoken out about the age gap between male actors and their female romantic counterparts. In March, Olivia Wilde said she was deemed “too old” to play opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Last year, Maggie Gyllenhaal expressed similar encounters with sexism in the industry.

Still, Banks said she does not take her career trajectory in Hollywood for granted. “What I’m grateful for now is longevity,” she said. “I was never a flavor of the month. I feel very comfortable that I will be working in this industry for a while.”