Zendaya brought amazing technicality to her role as Michelle in Spider-Man: Homecoming, says director Jon Watts. It’s strange to think that just over two years ago, it was nothing but a pipe dream to consider Spider-Man joining the rest of Earth’s mightiest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, Tom Holland already made his debut as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, in Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: Civil War, and he’ll be reprising his role as the iconic web-slinger in Watts’ film in just a few weeks.
Holland’s brief appearance in Civil War teased the superhero’s world in the MCU, and now his upcoming standalone film will introduce audiences to Peter’s high school life as well as his friends and family, in addition, of course, to his crime-fighting escapades and Avengers aspirations.
Among Peter’s supporting cast is his classmate Michelle, played by Zendaya. Watts has previously likened the character to characters from Freaks and Geeks and The Breakfast Club. Now, in Vogue‘s recent profile on Zendaya, Watts explained that he was looking at actresses from that frame of reference, and Zendaya was the actress that stood out the most from the screen tests. Although he admits to having previously seen her on the Disney Channel, she wore no makeup during the screen test, and Watts said “she looked like a completely different person” because of that.
Watts added that she has proven to be “an amazingly technical actor.” Because of her screen test, the director suggested she not only continue wearing no makeup throughout the production but also add her own embellishments to the role, such as carrying around a mug of herbal tea. “It makes me feel like such a bozo when I’m in front of someone who is that young and already just so good at what they do,” Watts said.
When it comes to comic book movies, people can’t help but speculate about various aspects of the film, such as who the actors and actresses are actually playing. Most of the people involved with Homecoming are playing actual characters from the comics, except for Zendaya, whose character appears to be an original creation for the film. That has caused many people to speculate that she would actually be playing someone like Mary Jane Watson or Michelle Toomes, the daughter of the main villain, Adrian Toomes/Vulture, played by Michael Keaton.
Zendaya has expressly denied playing Mary Jane and it turned out that the rumor regarding her playing the main villain’s daughter has also proved to be inaccurate. For now, audiences will have to see the movie under the assumption that she’s just playing Michelle, and that there’s nothing mysterious going on behind-the-scenes. If there is, we’ll just have to wait until Spider-Man: Homecoming releases next month to find out.