Why Marisa Tomei Playing Aunt May Makes Us Sad

Photo by: Stewart Cook/REX USA
Here's some disheartening news, and not because we aren't fans of Marisa Tomei: Reports indicate that the Oscar winner will likely play Aunt May in the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

Variety reports that Tomei "is the choice" to play the part opposite Tom Holland's new Spider-Man. So why does this news make us so sad? It's not that Tomei can't very well be the the aunt of Holland, who is currently only 19; it's that Aunt May isn't typically portrayed as a young, hip aunt. The pop cultural perception of the character is that she's an old woman.

Given this fact, people on Twitter have pointed out that the casting brings to mind Inside Amy Schumer's "Last Fuckable Day" sketch in which Patricia Arquette, Tina Fey, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus talk about how "in every actress's life the media decides when you finally reach the point where you're not believably fuckable anymore." Sally Field, who has played Aunt May, is one of the actresses cited as a victim of this Hollywood nonsense. (Fey explains: "You know how Sally Field was Tom Hanks's love interest in Punchline and then like 20 minutes later she was his mom in Forrest Gump?") Many would argue that Tomei, who played a stripper in the 2008 film The Wrestler, is still very "believably fuckable," but having hit the age of 50, she's at the point when Hollywood starts putting actresses out to the proverbial pasture described in the sketch.

And now Tomei will probably take on a role that was played by Rosemary Harris when she was in her 70s and Field when she was in her 60s. Tomei will be 52 when the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man movie is due to be released in 2017. The Hollywood Reporter, which also reports that Tomei could show up as the character in Captain America: Civil War, notes that because Peter Parker is supposed to be particularly youthful in this new version "the studios seem to also be aiming for a younger Aunt May to present an updated, more contemporary version of the character." Perhaps an interpretation along those lines soften the sting of this news. Here's to the hotness of the new Aunt May.

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