Zendaya is getting candid about receiving racially charged backlash over the possibility of her playing Mary Jane Watson in the latest Spiderman film.
“People are going to react over anything,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in its Next Gen 2016 issue. “But nothing [about who she is playing] is fact. It’s like, you guys are just making shit up at this point and then reacting to it.”
After it was announced that Zendaya would join the cast of Spiderman: Homecoming, fans immediately began to speculate that the 20-year-old would play the superhero’s love interest in the film. And while some were thrilled with the idea, others were not happy with the idea of an African-American woman stepping into the role that was originally depicted as a white woman in the comic books.
“Of course there’s going to be outrage over that because for some reason some people just aren’t ready,” she said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t know what America you live in, but from what I see when I walk outside my streets of New York right now, I see lots of diversity and I see the real world and it’s beautiful, and that’s what should be reflected and that’s what is reflected so you’re just going to have to get over it.’ “
And while her role hasn’t officially been confirmed, she did offer a few hints about who she might be playing — and she says she’s not Spiderman’s love interest.
“My character is not romantic. My character is like very dry, awkward, intellectual and because she’s so smart, she just feels like she doesn’t need to talk to people, like ‘My brain is so far ahead of you that you’re just not really on my level,’ ” she explained. “So she comes off very weird.”
Zendaya will star alongside Hollywood newcomer Tom Holland, who will portray the web-slinging hero. The actress said she offered her costar a few words of advice about how to deal with fame and life in the spotlight.
“I was like, ‘Bro, are you ready? Like, do you know what’s about to happen?’ And he’s like, ‘I don’t know, man, if I’m ready.’ I’m like, ‘It’s about to be crazy,’ ” she said. “His life is about to change dramatically, more than my life is about to change because I’ve already been in the public eye.”
Spiderman: Homecoming hits theaters July 7, 2017.