Elizabeth Banks Was Deemed 'Too Old' To Be Spider-Man's Girlfriend... At 28

In another eye-rolling case of Hollywood’s time-honoured ageism, Elizabeth Banks has revealed that she was deemed to be too old to play the role of Spider-Man’s girlfriend.

And what ripe old stage of advancement was she at at the time? She was 28.

She told Glamour magazine: “I screen-tested for the role of Mary-Jane Watson in the first Spider-Man movie, opposite Tobey Maguire.

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“Tobey and I are basically the same age and I was told I was too old to play her. 

“I’m like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s what I’ve signed up for’.”

Indeed, she is a whopping 16 months older than Maguire, a factor that was clearly a bridge too far.

The role went instead to Kirsten Dunst, who being 20 at the time was more suited to doing the famous upside down kiss with Spidey.

Banks, now 42 and a successful producer and director as well as an actor, did get a role, however, though it was a much more minor one.

She ended up playing Betty Brant, secretary at the Daily Bugle, in director Sam Raimi’s trilogy, up to 2007.

Earlier this year, Olivia Wilde, now 32, said that she also experienced ageism at the tender age of 28, after auditioning for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, playing the role of Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife Naomi, eventually scooped by Australian star Margot Robbie.

She told Howard Stern: “The funniest thing I heard recently was, I had heard for a part that I was ‘too sophisticated’.

“I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds nice. I like that feedback. I didn’t get the part but I’m a very sophisticated person’.

“Then I found out later they actually said 'old’.

“I want to make a translation sheet for Hollywood that’s all the feedback your agents give you and what it really means.”

It’s worth noting that Leonardo DiCaprio was 37 at the time that movie was made.

Image credits: AP/PA/Columbia