Elizabeth Banks, a stunning woman of 28 at the time, auditioned for the role of Mary Jane Watson for the 2002 release of Spider-Man. Mr. Peter Parker was played by a 27 year old Tobey Maguire. In a recent interview with Glamour UK, Banks stated she was turned down for the role for being “too old.” As we all know, the role of Mary Jane ended up going to Kirsten Dunst who was only 18 at the time.
I auditioned to play Mary Jane Watson and [producer] Laura Ziskin said ‘She’s too old.’ It’s fine. I’m a lot older than Kirsten Dunst, so I get it. I’m not much older than Tobey, but. . . . But I got it back then. And I was a nobody. I had no expectations of even being in that movie. The casting director called and said, ‘As a consolation prize essentially do you want to be Betty Brant?’ So it started out as a consolation prize and it’s become a favor.
Unfortunately this is not the first account of an actress being turned down for a role due to her age. Earlier this year Olivia Wilde revealed she was turned down the role opposite of Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street because she was “too old.” DiCaprio was 38 at the time and Wilde was 28. Instead the role went to Margot Robbie who was 23.
Maggie Gyllenhaal reported that she too was “too old” to play the love interest a 55 year old actor when she was 37.
There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time. I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.
Gyllenhaal did not reveal the film or the actor involved. Despite the negative experience she is choosing to stay optimistic:
A lot of actresses are doing incredible work right now, playing real women, complicated women. I don’t feel despairing at all. And I’m more looking with hope for something fascinating.
Luckily enough for Banks she was able to move forward with her career and went on to star in very successful films like Pitch Perfect and The Hunger Games trilogy. Wilde and Gyllenhaal have very solid careers despite being part of the “too old” club (too old for WHAT)?Source: Vanity Fair