Sally Field Didn’t Enjoy Playing Aunt May in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’
Because of all the excitement around the new Spider-Man in the Captain America: Civil War trailer, I decided to take a look back at the two Amazing Spider-Man movies from 2012 and 2014 directed by Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield. I was not a fan of the ASM reboot at the time, but I love Spidey and thought I would give them another shot. It seemed possible that because I loved Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, I hadn’t given Webb’s Amazing movies a fair shake.
Having now watched them both again, I have decided that I gave them the correct shake.
Amongst my notes from this revisit of the series are these four words: “Totally wastes Sally Field.” The two-time Oscar winner plays Peter Parker’s beloved Aunt May, and barely makes an impression in either movie. Given how shoddily constructed the Amazing movies are, I simply assumed it was the fault of a crappy script or the choppy editing. But in a new interview on The Howard Stern Show, Field admits she wasn’t a fan of the movie, or the material, and didn’t put a ton of consideration into her performance.
Conceding she only took the role because the movie was produced by the late Laura Ziskin, a longtime friend and colleague, Field said Spider-Man was “not [her] kind of movie.” When Stern asked if she liked the finished product she replied “Not especially.” When he followed up with a question about how much thought she put into playing Aunt May, Field said “Not a great deal.” Well, at least she’s honest about it!
And why did Field expend so little mental energy on the part? “It’s really hard to find a three-dimensional character in it,” she explained. “You can’t put ten pounds of s--- in a five pound bag.” Here’s the full audio.
Ouch. So not only was The Amazing Spider-Man a bag of s---, it was a small bag of s---.
Certainly, The Amazing Spider-Man wasn‘t Shakespeare. (It wasn’t even that Roland Emmerich movie about Shakespeare, Anonymous.) But Spider-Man stories can be deeply moving when they’re imbued with enough intelligence and passion. (Cliff Robertson, the original Uncle Ben from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, always gets me verklempt in his big scenes.) It’s clear Field simply didn’t have much enthusiasm for the project — and sadly that lack of passion does sort of come through in her performance. Still, she’s hardly the only (or biggest) problem in these movies. They’re both big messes up and down the line.
For me, Aunt May is still Rosemary Harris from Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy; I still love her scene in the widely disliked Spider-Man 3 where she gives Peter her own engagement ring so he can propose to Mary Jane. And I guess we won’t be seeing Sally Field back for the next Spider-Man, due out July 7, 2017. Hopefully if this one is a bag of s---, it’s at least a bigger bag of s---.