The film industry is a fickle mistress, and it pits actors against one another whether they want to compete or not. Something similar happened to Laura Harrier while working on Spider-Man: Homecoming. The actress signed on to play Liz Toomes, daughter of Adrian Toomes aka Vulture, and Peter Parker’s high-school crush. But during an interview with net-a-porter, Harrier revealed that for some time during the casting process, she was afraid Zendaya had been given her role.
“After I did my screen test for Spiderman, 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. I called my agent and they reassured me I was still in the running.”
At the time when they were cast for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Zendaya was already an established singer and Disney star with a huge fan following. When news of her involvement in the MCU broke, everyone naturally assumed she would be playing the lead female role of Peter Parker’s eternal crush and eventual wife Mary Jane Watson.
The actual role turned out to be a little bit of both for Zendaya and Harrier. The latter played Liz, Peter Parker’s high school crush, and in many ways the main female lead of the movie, while Zendaya played an unknown student who at the end is revealed to be nicknamed MJ, and would in the sequel be properly established as Peter/Spider-Man’s main love interest. Harrier was pleasantly surprised by Marvel’s willingness to give both her and Zendaya such important roles.
“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. 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!”
Although Harrier did not reprise her role in the sequel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, she has good memories of her stint with Marvel and feels her journey in the film industry has been made easier because of the friends she has made along the way through her films.
“It makes me really grateful for friends like that, who have been there through the whole thing and can relate to this sometimes-strange experience that the job is. Friends I met through work, like Zendaya, Yara [Shahidi], Alycia Debnam-Carey – this would be a lot scarier and more difficult without the good friends I’ve made.”
Harrier can next be seen playing the lead role in Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix show Hollywood. Meanwhile, Zendaya plays the lead in filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sci-fi epic Dune. It’s safe to say both actresses have grown creatively and evolved as artists since their Marvel high school days. This news comes from Net-A-Porter.