As Sony starts gearing up for Spider-Man 4 and 5, the attention of the online community turns towards who might be in it. Which means that at every junket featuring a previous star of the series a question will be asked: ‘Will you be coming back?’
For Elizabeth Banks that seems like a particularly good question. And it’s one that she can’t answer. “I’m the last person they call,” she said at today’s Zack & Miri Make a Porno junket. I couldn’t help but wonder – is it even worth it for her? By the third Spider-Man film, Banks was a legitimate movie star, and yet she was still relegated to a gussied up walk on role. Banks herself isn’t quite certain if coming back makes sense.
“If it’s that small, I probably won’t do it. They don’t need Betty Brant. It’s purely, at this point – and I don’t think they see it this way – it’s kind of a favor at this point.”
Which is ironic, considering how she got started in the franchise:
“The story of Spider-Man is that I auditioned to play Mary Jane Watson and Laura Ziskin said ‘She’s too old.’ It’s fine. I’m a lot older than Kirsten Dunst, so I get it. I’m not much older than Toby, but… But I got it back then. And I was a nobody. I had no expectations of even being in that movie. The casting director called and said, ‘As a consolation prize essentially do you want to be Betty Brant?’ So it started out as a consolation prize and it’s become a favor.”
It seems insane to me that Sam Raimi let an actress who is so beautiful and so funny go to waste. And it isn’t like Betty Brant doesn’t have history in the early Spider-Man comics – she was once Peter’s love interest,
and her brother became a villain, the Molten Man and her brother was killed in a battle between Spidey and Doc Ock AND her husband ended up being The Hobgoblin*. Still, having someone like Banks on set and then not giving her anything to do is kind of a crime.
*People who bitch about the soapy elements of the Spider-Man films have obviously never read a single issue of the comic.