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In a perfect example of age discrimination that’s rampant in the movie industry, Elizabeth Banks has revealed a moment when she was deemed “too old” for a role, though she was only a year older than the actor she would play opposite of.
In a recent interview with Glamour UK, the actress-director revealed that she was turned down to play Mary Jane Watson in the 2002 release of “Spider-Man” because of her age.
The movie would go on to become one of the biggest superhero releases of that time with over $114 million for its opening weekend and earning over $800 million worldwide.
It also made its stars, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, into household names. So you can understand if Banks is still a little upset.
“I was told I was too old to play her,” Banks, who was 28 at the time, told Glamour UK, according to Vanity Fair. “Tobey and I are basically the same age. I was like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s what I’ve signed up for.'”
Maguire was 27 at the time the movie was made. Dunst, who ended up being cast as Mary Jane, was 18.
Banks instead was cast as Daily Bugle secretary Betty Brant.
Though Banks has gone on to have a great career, this is just the latest example of an actress speaking out about being turned down for a role because of her age.
In March, Olivia Wilde went public that she was considered too old to play the wife of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” though at the time she was 10 years younger than DiCaprio. The role went to Margot Robbie, who is seven years younger than Wilde.
However, it makes you think about the number of actresses over the decades who weren’t as lucky as Banks and Wilde after being turned down for such career-making roles for the simple fact that they were considered “too old.”