People Apparently Mixed Up Zendaya And Laura Harrier On The Spider-Man: Homecoming Set, And Now The Actress Is Sharing Her Experience

Laura Harrier in Spider-Man: Homecoming
(Image credit: Sony)

Landing a role in a major comic book movie is a dream gig for many. But there are complications that come with any job, and the entertainment industry offers a unique set of challenges– especially for actors of color. Case in point: people apparently mixed up Zendaya and Laura Harrier on the Spider-Man: Homecoming set. And now the actress is sharing her experience.

BlacKkKlansman actress Laura Harrier played Liz Allan in Spider-Man: Homecoming, serving as Peter’s primary love interest and the daughter of Michael Keaton’s villainous Vulture. While she’s been noticeably absent in the two sequels, it turns out that Harrier dealt with some uncomfortable moments on that movie’s set, especially those who didn’t learn the difference between herself and Zendaya. Harrier recently spoke to Cosmopolitan about what it’s like being a Black actress in Hollywood, including issues of colorism. That’s when she shared her experience on Homecoming, saying:

Some of the most successful actresses of color tend to be on the lighter side and that’s definitely not okay. There are so many facets to the Black experience. There are so many ways that Black people look, and only having one narrow view is something that I think is ultimately putting everybody at a disadvantage—we’re only shortchanging ourselves when we don’t show a diverse range of stories and a diverse range of people onscreen. I do think it’s something that’s slowly starting to change, but even when we were doing Spider-Man, I would get called ‘Zendaya’ all the time. People wouldn’t even take the time to differentiate us.

Talk about an uncomfortable working environment. While Laura Harrier and other Black actresses are already dealing with a unique set of stressors on TV/film sets, being mixed up with other actors of color is no doubt insulting. She and Zendaya are distinctly different actors who played very different roles in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it seems that some people on set couldn’t distinguish the two young talents. 

In the last few years there’s been a ton of conversation about inclusivity in the media, and the power of seeing one’s self represented on screen. While Spider-Man: Homecoming featured a diverse cast of talent, it wasn’t without incident for actresses like Laura Harrier. It shows how much work still needs to be done within the industry.

Zendaya as MJ in Far From Home

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

While being mistaken for Zendaya was no doubt discouraging for Laura Harrier while working on Spider-Man: Homecoming, she also admits that in some ways she’s got it easier than others. As the Hollywood star mentions, many of the most successful actresses of color have lighter complexion, while less women with deeper tones are featured in major roles. Colorism is a powerful force within and outside of the entertainment industry, and these types of conversation are important if this type of behavior is to be unlearned.

Laura Harrier can be seen in the new Mike Tyson biopic series Mike on Hulu. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.