Zendaya‘s role in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming was a relatively small one. However, the actress insists she was just grateful to be involved at all.
“Spider-Man was one of the first movies that I did outside of Disney Channel,” she told Pose star MJ Rodriguez as part of Variety‘s Actors on Actors series. “And yeah, I didn’t have much to do in the first movie, but I was so just excited to be doing the movie at all.”
Rodriguez applauded Zendaya for essentially re-creating the character of Mary Jane Watson, who has been traditionally portrayed as a white redhead in both the comic books and previous films.
“I was lucky because they already kind of wanted to re-create the character and turn her into a new version of what I think maybe the original Mary Jane character represented, and just do it in our own way in this Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Zendaya explained. “I kind of came into it and there was already on the page a smart, quick, sharp young girl who comes off a bit quirky or offbeat. I have a lot of fun doing it. I like being able to do comedy and things that aren’t so heavy.”
But make no mistake. Zendaya doesn’t have an aversion to dramatic projects. The 23-year-old actress has received critical acclaim for her role in the HBO teen drama Euphoria, in which she plays a high school opioid addict named Rue Bennett.
“Rue is obviously very different from me, but there’s something that feels like home,” Zendaya explained.”Something that feels very stepping into shoes that you somehow already have worn before. I just felt like I was falling into her a lot … that feeling of when a character feels like they’re your sister or your best friend. I care about Rue as if she’s someone in my life. And I just want her to be OK.”
Zendaya also touched on the differences between filming the HBO series and Spider-Man: Far From Home, the 2019 sequel in which she took on a much, much larger role.
“We got to travel so much for that last movie,” she said, referring to Far From Home. “I spent most of my time in London, and when you wake up at three in the morning, I’m literally running outside the Tower of London before it opens. I get to run from these killer drones that nobody can see, because they’re not there yet.”
She continued: “It’s massive. It’s very different from Euphoria, where it’s close and you have more time. Whereas on something like Spider-Man, it’s such a huge thing. And there’s so many secrets, and half of the script you can’t even read because there’s too many spoilers for, at the time, ‘Endgame’ and all these other things. It’s like, you don’t really know what you’re doing. It’s just so big that you’re like,’“I’m just going to figure it out as I go.’ And me swinging around, we did a real swing, but they didn’t end up using it. We ended up really just being carried maybe two feet off the ground.”
You can check out Zendaya and Rodriguez’s full discussion at Variety’s website.