It is no secret that the roles chosen by actors are not always taken for the significance of the material to the actors themselves. This is especially true of Hollywood actors who, more often than not, are offered huge amounts of money to portray certain characters in popular franchises.
A recent interview with Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman during the publicity tour for London Has Fallen revealed the reason he’d signed up for the sequel was purely financial. Other actors have espoused similar reasons for working on projects, including Harrison Ford, who currently holds the crown as the highest-grossing actor in Hollywood history.
Of course the reasons don’t always have to be financial, and they can often be as varied as the actors themselves. In a recent interview with Howard Stern, esteemed Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field revealed she took the role as Aunt May in both of The Amazing Spider-Man movies because of her close friendship with the late producer Laura Ziskin, who was fighting breast cancer at the time. Elaborating on the role, Field also admitted she didn’t particularly enjoy her time as Aunt May.
Howard: "You didn't like that movie?"
Field: "Not especially. It's not my kind of movie. But my friend Laura Ziskin was the producer, and we knew it would be her last film, and she was my first producing partner, and she was a spectacular human."
Howard: "How much thought do you put into playing Aunt May?"
Field: "Not a great deal."
Howard: "Is that right?...Why, because it's a superhero movie and it's frivolous?"
Field: "Because it's really hard to find a three dimensional character in it, and you work it as much as you can, but you can't put ten pounds of s*** in a five pound bag."
Stern also went on to offer a concise opinion for Field’s general disinterest in the role of Peter Parker’s guardian:
Howard: "Explain that to me. In other words, it's kind of like The Flying Nun. When they say to you, play Aunt May, it's not the Aunt May movie, it's Spider-Man's movie. Spider-Man's all CGI, special effects, the guy's wearing a mask...you come in and you prop up Spider-Man once in awhile. It's like playing the wife at home."
Over the years, Field has had a highly celebrated career as an actress, taking on a variety of diverse roles. While 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man reboot was generally well received, the 2014 sequel didn’t fare quite as well, leading some to question whether or not Spider-Man reboots have been too much of a good thing. It isn’t hard to sympathize with Field, though. The role of Aunt May has never been an especially abundant one for any actor in terms of character and beyond Field’s wish to work with an ailing friend one last time, the role didn’t offer her much in the way of compelling material to work with.
Sony/Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Man reboot won’t see Field in the role as Aunt May, opting instead for another acclaimed Oscar-winning actress in Marisa Tomei (Empire, The Big Short). At present we don’t know exactly to what extent Aunt May will feature in Spider-Man’s third rebooted return to theaters next year (or even if she will appear in Captain America: Civil War), but if recent hush-hush trends regarding Spidey’s involvement in Captain America: Civil War are any indication, fans will continue to have much to speculate on and discuss in the coming months.
Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.