Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Amateur Casting Director Gets It Wrong

Knowing full well there are much better uses of my time, I still can't help but play "Amateur Casting Director," either for movies that are in the works or ones that don't "officially" exist in any capacity. I've been obsessive-compulsively absorbing pop culture my entire life, so I can't really help it.

Where is this going? Well, over a year ago I was thinking, "You know what? Emma Stone really should play Mary Jane in the next Spider-Man movie." I liked the Sam Raimi movies well enough, but I thought her character was kind of off. She got repeatedly placed in the "damsel in distress" role, which okay, is sort of inevitable in superhero stories... But Mary Jane should be anything but helpless. She's not a superhero, but she can hold her own! I'm reminded of one comic-book story in which the Chameleon discovered Spider-Man's secret identity, captured Peter Parker, copied his "face" to impersonate him, then went after Mary Jane... who quickly figured out his ruse and beat him unconscious with a baseball bat.

Mary Jane is a fairly complex character, originally hiding behind a flirty party girl persona as she attempted to hide from a difficult life, and later growing out of her "mask" and learning to fully open up. She's tough and confident, a far cry from the typical weepy love interests more common to classic comic books. She's cool, she has some attitude, and is legitimately interesting - the perfect superhero love interest, in my opinion. This is what I'd like to see on the big screen, and I thought the role fit Stone perfectly.

Also, come on, she sure as hell looks the part:

So when the internet rumour mills started up recently about Stone being in talks for a role in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, I felt a little pride in having "called it" so far in advance. Until yesterday they officially announced that she'd been cast... as Gwen Stacy.

Now, Stone is very talented. She's funny, she has a great screen presence, and I'm sure that she'll do a great job in the role. (And apparently she's actually a natural blonde, so there's that going for it!) And who knows, maybe they'll go the "Ultimate Spider-Man" route and rework the character as a cooler, more complex "punk girl" type... But I'll be honest with you, Internet, Gwen Stacy might be famous as Peter's first major love interest, but I can't say I'm a fan. As she originally appeared, she didn't have much depth, she was boring, and worst of all, she fit that "weepy love interest" archetype to a T. And if that's the route the film is taking, I think it'll be a huge waste of Stone's talent. (But it's way too early to assume anything about the role, so I'll leave it at that.)

Either way, I'm interested to see how it turns out. And even though I missed the mark a bit this time, I feel oddly encouraged to play the game again.


  1. wow, nicely done with the emma guess. yes, sad that she isn't mj - any idea who will be?
    i'm kinda excited about the new peter - he was great in the social network.
    better luck next time ;)

  2. I haven't seen the Social Network yet! I probably will soon, though. Was it as good as the hype suggests?

    I don't think there's been any hint as to who's playing Mary Jane, or if she'll be in the movie at all. Emma Stone playing Gwen was kind of a surprise, as most believed she'd be Mary Jane.

    "Next time" might be a huge update, actually. I've managed to cast an entire movie in my head.