Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Marisa Tomei Talks Age and Kissing

Marisa Tomei recently sat down for an interview with The Guardian ahead of the premiere of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Here's what she had to say:

On being cast as Aunt May:
“I know, right? It’s lucky I didn’t know much about Aunt May, because I might have been horrified if I’d seen the original image of a grey-haired pensioner. Don’t toy with my heart, Marvel. Is that really how you view me? They aged Peter Parker down too. He’s 15 in this movie. I ended up picking the brains of my brother Adam, who’s been an encyclopaedia of Marvel since we were little, and he explained that May’s not related to Peter by blood – she’s his aunt by marriage to his uncle Ben. So she could be elderly or pretty young, depending what age she met her husband. I thought maybe I should lean into it and made a case for them to age me up. A lot of young girls are wearing that silver hair now, so it was something we toyed with.”

On how Marisa sees Aunt May:
“I had numerous conversations with the director, Jon Watts, about Peter Parker being a local hero, which seems particularly apt for these times. He gets those values from Aunt May, who basically raised him. So we discussed how she might be involved in the community and know everyone in the neighbourhood. We considered making her a pro bono lawyer, but didn’t want her to wear suits. Instead we made her a book lover who has her own small publishing firm, like a female collective. She’s got a feminist and humanist edge – at least in my head.”

On sexism vs ageism:
“Well, I only got to be old very recently. The industry has decided I’m an aunt-type now. I’m like, is this the way it gets broken to me? But in any profession, there’s a lot of sexism. That isn’t exactly headline news. In our business, the numbers certainly don’t lie when you see how few speaking roles there are for women [studies show that 33% of speaking roles and 22% of protagonists are female]. It’s a numbers game and if you start adding in other factors, including age, the odds diminish of getting a great part.

...Frustration is the name of the game in acting. Every actor is frustrated, always worried they won’t get the next job. That’s true of any actor, of any gender, at any success level. And I’ve heard it from very, very successful actors. Sexism is part of the culture, that’s just a fact, but we can try to change that culture. I like to think things have improved in the century since we got the right to vote. But just because it’s 75% better, doesn’t mean you should stop caring about the remaining 25%. We need parity, both in availability of work and our compensation for that work.”

On My Cousin Vinny:
“Wow, is it really 25 years? No wonder you were asking about ageism. I did get old! It’s such a funny movie and it really holds up. I was fresh to the business and didn’t know how movies worked but Joe chose me for the part, then took me by the hand and guided me immensely, so I got very lucky. I keep my Oscar in my little library here. Maybe I should throw a Vinny reunion party and bring it out to show everyone? Just kidding.”

On her reputation as a great kisser:
“It’s nice that I’m considered a great kisser. It’s all about the partner, isn’t it? And it’s only on screen. In real life, I’m shit.”

Read the full interview at The Guardian.

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