Spider-Man Actress Zendaya Had No Idea She Was Auditioning to Be MJ

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has put its own stamp on the world of Spider-Man, with the wall-crawler and his supporting cast being reinvented in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home. One of the standouts of the film series has definitely been Zendaya's Michele, who has since gone by the nickname of MJ. While fans had speculated for quite some time that Zendaya could be playing a new version of the iconic Mary Jane Watson, seeing the reveal happen in the film was definitely a surprise. And according to a new interview with Zendaya in GQ, it was a surprise to her as well -- at least in the initial auditions.

"We weren’t supposed to know that the script pages that we were reading were for Spider-Man, but I did find out that it was for Spider-Man cause I have good agents," Zendaya revealed. "But I didn’t know what role I was auditioning for. I just thought it was 'girl in Spider-Man movie.' I didn’t really know what character, or what kind of character, they would be. Right before the screen test, they were kind of saying okay these are the characters that we’re reading for, MJ being one of them and I was like 'Oh, that would be so cool!'"

The casting process for Spider-Man: Homecoming seems to have been filled with a sense of mystery, with Liz Allan actress Laura Harrier revealing in an interview last year that she had initially thought Zendaya had landed her role.

“After I did my screen test for Spider-Man, before I had heard anything, it came out a few weeks later that Zendaya was going to be cast in it, so I just figured I hadn’t got the job. She must have,” Harrier explained to Net-a-Porter. “I called my agent and they reassured me I was still in the running."

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"I thought it was incredible and ground-breaking of Marvel to put us both in those roles and not to make it about our blackness," Harrier continued. "We were just girls who went to a school in New York and that’s what New York City looks like; films should reflect that. We had the best time making that movie. Zendaya and I are friends now and I’m really grateful for her. Swinging around on those wires was fun!”

Zendaya's MJ will next be seen in Marvel's Spider-Man 3, which is currently set to be released on December 17, 2021.