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Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Marisa Tomei Explains How Her ‘Reinvention’ Of Aunt May Came To Be

Marisa Tomei in Spider-Man: Far From Home
(Image credit: Marvel)

When Marisa Tomei first popped up as Peter Parker’s Aunt May, it threw audiences for a loop. Previous takes – live-action, animated, and comics – had portrayed Parker’s surrogate mother as a white-haired older woman unaware of her nephew’s secret identity. Captain America: Civil War changed all that as Tomei made May Parker a modern New York woman. Her portrayal changed moviegoers’ perspective on the iconic character. With the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the Oscar winner broke down how the reinvention came to be.

The King of Staten Island star allowed the beloved Spidey character to be witty, independent and liberated in a way fans hadn’t even seen before. It was a refreshing take on everyone’s favorite comic book aunt. But this interpretation of May Parker might’ve started before Marisa Tomei secured the role. The MCU star revealed to The Wrap the unique way Aunt May’s reinvention went down.

I think Robert Downey had a lot to do with it. And then [Jon] Watts and I a lot about, well, I guess the mandate is a reinvention. But what is that? I don’t think anyone is really focused on that, really. There was a lot of bigger fish to fry. So Jon and I did a lot of talking about it.

Robert Downey Jr. proved once again to be the true mastermind behind the MCU. Of course, RDJ would want the MCU’s Aunt May to be hipper, liberated and younger compared to previous incarnations. And Marisa Tomei was the best choice for this shift. The Spider-Man: Far from Home star gave Aunt May an air of sophistication and street smarts never exhibited before. There also might’ve been some inspiration from Sally Field’s Aunt May from the Amazing Spider-Man films. Her take has fit in with the MCU’s interpretations of many beloved characters.

RDJ probably vouched for Tomei the way he did for Tom Holland to become Spider-Man. The former MCU co-stars had a shared cinematic history before Marisa Tomei joined Marvel. Robert Downey Jr. co-starred with the Oscar winner in the acclaimed 1992 biopic Chaplin as well as the 1994 rom-com Only You. So, Downey Jr. knew the Ides of March star could elevate the matronly role. And of course, she did as evident by her recurring role in the MCU.

Of course, Marvel fans get to witness Tomei as Aunt May again. The actress can see her in action as Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently in theaters. But taking on Aunt May isn’t the only role as the Oscar winner will pop up in 2022 in the drama Delia’s Gone. Hopefully, the Chaplin star’s MCU future won’t end anytime soon. If you want to relive the Cousin Vinny star’s career, check out and stream some of her best movies.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).