Aunt May is hot.
In addition to the “hotness,” Tomei brings a fun energy to the younger Aunt May. The actress also revealed to HuffPost that a cut scene would’ve added even more interesting depth to her character and the relationship between her and nephew Peter Parker (Tom Holland).
Tomei first said there were a lot of improvised lines that didn’t make the film, adding, “There were also things in the original, which I signed up for, which weren’t there when we shot it.”
The actress explained that though filming was wonderful, she was disappointed over a cut scene from the original script where her character would’ve also shown some heroism, saving a little girl in trouble.
“There was something going on in the neighborhood, and there was a little girl in distress, and I saved her, and Peter saw me save her, so you kind of saw that he got part of his ethics from her,” she said.
Tomei continued, “Then I come home, and I don’t even tell him that that’s what happened, and, of course, there’s all this stuff that he’s not telling me. So he’s like, ‘How was your day?’ And I’m like, ‘It was fine,’ but really I was shaking inside because of this whole crisis that had happened in the city. I’m kind of fibbing to him, and he’s fibbing to me, and we’re living in this house together, and it was a very interesting setup. I was quite disappointed that wasn’t in there.”
The scene would’ve apparently happened early in the movie and was written out of the initial script, Tomei said.
Holland also told HuffPost the story changed a lot from its beginnings. We asked director Jon Watts about why the changes were made and how they arrived at the final script.
“Writing the script is an evolving process, especially if you have more than one writer involved, but if anything you’re always just trying to boil it down to the essentials,” said Watts. “An initial pass at a script is more of an exploratory pass, and you start locking in on what the themes are and you start locking in on the best character moments and the set pieces and boiling it down to be the most precise thing possible.”
Even without that Aunt May scene, all that boiling down brought us a “Spider-Man” film that has earned rave reviews, raked in a reported $117 million at the box office in its opening weekend, and is just a friendly, neighborhood good time throughout.
In the rest of our conversation with Tomei, she explained everything from the difficulties of bringing sexiness to Aunt May’s character to whether she actually likes “quirky, bald men,” as they say in “Seinfeld.”
I like how it’s Aunt May, and your last name is pronounced “toe may.” It seems like fate.
[Laughs] I didn’t even think of that. I have to remember that.
This role is so different from your previous roles. How’d you end up in a big superhero franchise?
They called me up, and it all happened pretty quickly because “Captain America: Civil War” was going to shoot the following week. I was actually overseas. I was in Europe, and we had to process that this was going on and decide about what is potentially a six-year period of time within a few days and understand who Aunt May—or I just like to say, May —who May is and how she was integrated into that universe. I had to catch up pretty fast.
Since Aunt May is traditionally an older character, how did you bring the younger Aunt May to life?
Just a blank slate and starting from meeting Tom [Holland], who I met that following week on “Civil War” and feeling who he was and starting to sink into those shoes, and [directors] the Russo Brothers really helped with that, too. There were a couple of scenes really setting the tone for everything. Then I talked to my brother and major comic fan friends who could talk me through the whole lore and the House of Parker and understand who they were and what the essentials of Aunt May are. It was a little difficult because she’s extremely maternal, but part of what was asked of me was to bring a sensuality and a sexuality to it, so it was like that’s really the madonna-whore split that we usually keep split up. It’s nice and tidy in this culture, and how shall I be maternal with [Peter Parker] and also be sexual, but not be sexual obviously with him, but yet I don’t have scenes other than with him? So what am I doing? [...] Ultimately, it integrated, but I wasn’t really sure what the job was.
Were there any details about the set or wardrobe that really told the story of Aunt May?
The wardrobe was a big key to figuring out again how to balance the maternal with the sexual in the part itself, and also I was jealous because I wanted to be a superhero. I wanted to have a costume that had very clean lines and would be iconic shapes in its own right, even though she was an ordinary person, so the colors and the way the lines are, there’s an imprint [of] who that person is. It’s not Bohemian with a lot of flounces ... there’s an energy that’s strong and definitive and that’s really a lot because of the wardrobe and hair.
Aunt May learns about Spider-Man’s secret identity and starts saying a particular F-word before it cuts off. Did you actually say it all?
I think I said the whole word, and then they had to fine tune and fine tune.
Now that Aunt May knows Spider-Man’s secret, where do you think it goes from here?
That’s what’s so exciting about it, because now this movie-making creative challenge is posed. OK, so what are we going to do with these characters? Now she knows that, so what? And it hasn’t been cracked before, so Kevin Feige’s idea is you take one picture at a time. Now we’ll figure that out. We’ve got that far, but it should be really fun.
You’ve had a variety of roles, including one on “Seinfeld” that has an unanswered question. Do you really like funny, quirky, bald men?
[Laughs] Well, at the time in real life I was dating a quirky, funny, semi-bald person, so maybe that’s where he got it from.