Zendaya has seen a rapid rise at a young age, from Disney royalty to the youngest Emmy-awarding winning actress in history for Euphoria. The actress is also a part of the MCU in the role of MJ, Spider-Man’s main love interest. In an interview with GQ, Zendaya revealed that the famous veil of secrecy Marvel Studios casts over all its projects had prevented her from knowing she was auditioning to play MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming when she read for the part.
“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!”
While it was previously believed Zendaya Coleman would be playing the role of Spider-Man’s classic love interest Mary Jane Watson, her character was finally revealed to be Michelle Jones aka MJ, a new character designed especially for the movies.
Zendaya and Tom Holland showed sparkling chemistry opposite each other in the Spider-Man films. Still, the role of MJ is frequently that of a damsel in distress, and basically a supporting role to Peter Parker’s journey. In another interview with GQ, Zendaya explained that she had spent 2020 saying no to such roles for the future since she wants to focus on parts that challenge and help her grow as an actor.
“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.”
MJ will next be seen in the upcoming third Spider-Man movie that is set to introduce Spidey to the multiverse. Directed by Jon Watts, the currently untitled sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, and Benedict Cumberbatch. The film arrives in theaters on December 17, 2021. Zendaya’s remarks about rejecting scripts comes from GQ.