Pop Culture

Elizabeth Banks was 'too old' to play Spider-Man's love interest at 28

In 2002, Elizabeth Banks got a minor role in the box-office blockbuster "Spider-Man," playing the part of secretary Betty Brant. But that wasn't the role she originally tried out for.

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Elizabeth Banks at the premiere of "Spider-Man" in 2002.

Banks had hoped to be the leading lady and land the part of Spider-Man's love interest, Mary Jane Watson. But she soon learned, at 28 years old, she was just "too old" to star opposite leading man Tobey Maguire — who's one year younger than she is.

“I screen-tested for the role of Mary Jane Watson in the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie," the actress told Glamour UK. “Tobey and I are basically the same age and I was told I was too old to play her. I’m like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s what I’ve signed up for.’”

Kirsten Dunst, who was just 20 at the time, got the part.

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This isn't the first time Banks has opened up about the age-related rejection.

Back in 2008, during a press junket for another film, Banks said that the part she eventually got was really a "consolation prize" for not getting Mary Jane.

"The casting director called and said, 'As a consolation prize essentially, do you want to be Betty Brant?'" she recalled. "So it started out as a consolation prize and it's become a favor."

Banks went on to star in all three "Spider-Man" films — and nab much bigger roles in "Pitch Perfect," the "Hunger Games" franchise and more.

"What I'm grateful for now is longevity," she told Glamour. "I was never a flavor of the month. I feel very comfortable that I will be working in this industry for a while."

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