In a recent interview with Collider, actress Marisa Tomei spoke about her shift to playing more ‘Mom’ characters, which began with her role as Aunt May in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest Spider-Man adaptation and is continuing with her role in an upcoming Judd Apatow comedy, The King of Staten Island.
“I really regret starting down this road and I really regret starting to do that,” Tomei said. “I was, you know, talked into it — not [‘King of Staten Island’], but I mean just that change — and I really always felt like, ‘Oh, I could play a lot of things.’ Honestly, [playing a mom is] probably more of a stretch than other things. But, it’s — yeah, I guess I said it all.”
Although other actresses have spoken on their experience being boxed into mom roles from a surprisingly young age (often playing mothers to men who are barely younger than them), it’s always disappointing to hear how choosing to take one mom role can so severely limit what options talented actresses have for the rest of their careers.
“I think every actor and actress has a lot of dimensions to them and if the scope of what is being written and being made is narrow, and you want to keep working, you do what you can,” she continued. “I mean, I do. I tried it. It was maybe not the right road, but you know, I do try to make the most of it.”
It’s easy to forget, but like every other industry, acting is a business. It’s not hard to imagine how Tomei would take a role in a Marvel movie, knowing that’s a source of solid work for years to come, and then look up and find herself stuck playing the same types of characters.
When asked what types of roles she would rather be playing, Tomei had plenty of ideas:
“I mean, even genres that I would love to be in, you know? The femme fatale, and in a noir. I still think there are other aspects of even romantic comedies. I really love them, but you know really at a screwball level. There’s so many, many — the breadth of as much as women are, there’s so many roles.”
Women over the age of 40 have range???? You don’t say.