Zendaya is set to make her debut in the Marvel cinematic universe in just a few weeks and the model, singer, dancer, and actress has now opened up on what makes Spider-Man: Homecoming a unique and different kind of superhero movie.
For the latest iteration of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Marvel has dialed the clock back to deliver a much younger take on the web-slinger, picking up with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) after the events of Captain America: Civil War while the young hero is still discovering the responsibility of his powers and what it means to be a hero as he struggles through the everyday life of a teenager in high school.
Based on Ally Sheedy’s Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club, Zendaya stars as Michelle, a mysterious character described as a weird loner who follows Holland’s Peter Parker and Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds around in the film. In a recent chat with Entertainment Weekly, the actress spoke on how the diverse cast truly represents New York as it tells a story of what a teenager dealing with these powers would really be like:
“That was one of my favorite parts about this movie is the diversity of the cast. It’s reflecting what New York looks like. It should be represented in that way, I think. I think everybody is also very distinct characters and it’s fun to see how everybody works with each other, and I love the awkwardness and the funny that comes out of those real moments in high school that we’ve all been through. The big difference with this movie is the fact that he’s 15 and you really get to see what it would be like if a 15-year-old guy had these powers. Of course, they’re not going to do everything right. They’re not going to be perfect. They’re going to mess up. They’re going to be a 15-year-old superhero. And I think they did a really great job of capturing that because that’s what makes Spider-Man so real for everybody is that he’s just a kid and just a kid from Queens.”
Zendaya also added that Spider-Man: Homecoming represents the high school dynamics of today, showcasing the smart kids as the cool kids and not as losers or nerds unlike teen films of the past:
“Which is the truth now, I think. Even our bully, Flash, who is played by Tony, this is the new age bully. It’s different. It’s not necessarily one type of person. The dynamics in high school now are just different. It’s not like the old school, this is where people go and these are the groups that are cool and these are the groups that are not cool. It’s different. That’s how we reflected it.”
The actress also commented on how she relates to her character Michelle and how she feels the character represents many young people today:
“She’s got an edge to her. She speaks her mind, says what she thinks, but for some reason it comes off likable. And it’s very dry. It’s very real.… She ‘s super smart, very intellectual, and because she’s so smart she doesn’t know how to interact with other kids. So she doesn’t have friends. And I think there are a lot of kids out there like that, including myself. So I relate to her in more ways than one.”
Zendaya also spoke on how refreshing it was to play a female character in a superhero film that isn’t the typical damsel in distress stereotype as she stressed the importance of showcasing different types of beautiful women while reassuring the dynamic between Michelle and Peter is not a romantic one:
“I think it’s just a nice change of pace, especially for a superhero movie. It changes the typical female character in a superhero movie which is usually like the damsel in distress, not super independent, doesn’t really have her own thing going on, her perspective constantly revolves around the superhero, right? So it’s nice that I’m not the love interest, which means I’m not that girl. And it’s nice to have that relationship that’s not romantic. And I also would say that I like that she’s just different, and I think there’s so many different types of beautiful women out there, why not showcase different types of beautiful women? Because there’s going to be so many young people I think that can connect to that and need to see that it’s cool to be weird.”
The film stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly and Bokeem Woodbine, as well as Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Michael Chernus, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Angourie Rice and Abraham Attah. Here’s the official synopsis:
A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7, 2017.