Some fans argue Oscar-winning actor is too young to play the role, but others point out Tomei is the right age to play opposite the new teenage Peter Parker
Comic book fans have taken to Twitter in protest after it was revealed that Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei is in line to star as Spider-Man’s elderly relative Aunt May in the latest big-screen reboot to feature the webslinging superhero.
According to some complaints, Tomei, 50, is just too young and attractive to portray the character – who was played in Sam Raimi’s 2002 film Spider-Man by the then 74-year-old Rosemary Harris, and by a 66-year-old Sally Field in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Others argued more seriously that the casting was a byproduct of Hollywood’s negative attitude towards age.
Tomei was named as the new Aunt May by the Hollywood Reporter and is said to be in final negotiations for the role. She would star opposite new Spider-Man Tom Holland, at 19 by far the youngest actor to take on the role. Clown director Jon Watts is taking charge of the film, the first to be part of the wider Marvel cinematic universe, despite rival studio Sony also retaining an interest.
May Parker is generally depicted in the original Spider-Man comics as an elderly, grey or white-haired pensioner, widow of Ben Parker, who acts as Spider-Man’s moral compass and is also one of the reasons he maintains his secret identity. However, various comic book and television Spider-Man stories have made Aunt May a younger, more active participant in Peter Parker’s adventures. In the Ultimate Marvel version, she is a strong and independent woman in her late forties or early fifties.
Some Twitter users pointed out that, with Sony and Marvel taking Spider-Man back to high school, an aunt in middle age makes more sense than one in her 60s or 70s. According to reports, Tomei will first appear as Aunt May, alongside Holland as the wallcrawler, in next year’s Captain America: Civil War.
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