Zendaya, at only 24-years old, has risen to a high level of fame that seems to have no bounds. She has already won an Emmy for her gut-wrenching portrayal on HBO’s Euphoria and she’s generating Oscar buzz for her film Malcolm & Marie. The actress is also no stranger to blockbusters having appeared as MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME. Zendaya is still shooting the third MCU Spider-Man but as she reflects on initially going in for the first film, she’s revealing that she has no clue that she auditioning for MJ when she read for the part.
In a recent interview with “GQ“, Zendaya discussed her entrance into the MCU and she stated that since Marvel Studios cast so much secrecy over all of their projects, she actually didn’t know what role she was really auditioning for:
“We weren’t supposed to know that the script pages that we were reading were for Spider-Man, but I did find out that it was for Spider-Man cause I have good agents. But I didn’t know what role I was auditioning for. I just thought it was ‘girl in Spider-Man movie.’ I didn’t really know what character, or what kind of character, they would be. Right before the screen test, they were kind of saying okay these are the characters that we’re reading for, MJ being one of them and I was like “oh that would be so cool!”
When Zendaya reveals that her name is MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming, many fans thought she was playing a new spin on Spider-Man’s classic love interest Mary Jane Watson. This turned out to be a mere nod to fans because it was later revealed that her name was Michelle Jones, a new character and love interest designed for the new MCU movies for Peter Parker.
It’s a good thing that Zendaya ultimately got the role because she shares great chemistry with Tom Holland and she became even more interesting when they gave her a lot more to do in Spider-Man: Far From Home. As Zendaya shoots the third film, it’s clear that she doesn’t merely want to be the damsel in distress. In fact, she said that she rejected a lot of scripts in 2020 because the roles didn’t show much growth at all and were primarily there to guide the male character on their journey:
“It’s not necessarily that any of [the scripts] were bad or something like that. I just felt like a lot of the roles that I was reading, specifically female roles, were just like, I could have played them all as the same person and it wouldn’t have mattered, if that makes sense. The best way to describe it is just like, they’d usually serve the purpose of helping the male character get to where they need to go, do what they need to do. They don’t really have an arc of their own. And they usually feel very one-dimensional in the sense that there’s not a lot of layers to them, meaning they all seem very kind of like the same person over and over and over again. It would have been great and it would have been fine, but I wouldn’t have grown at all.”
Zendaya seems to be making wise choices when it comes to her roles and her instincts are strong, even at such a young age. I feel like we have only begun to see what she can really do and I look forward to watching her future growth as an actress.