Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed what movie fans have speculated on for month: The antagonist Michael Keaton is playing in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is indeed that of the highflying supervillain the Vulture.
“We’ve had a wish list [of actors] and most of them in the near-term are coming together,” Feige told the Toronto Sun. “Cate Blanchett is playing Hela” — the Asgardian goddess of death — “in ‘Thor: Ragnarok.’ Michael Keaton’s Vulture in ‘Spider-Man’ is something,” he added.
Keaton, 65 — whose superhero credentials include the title character in director Tim Burton’s “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1992), and who played a stage actor best known for having played a superhero character in 2014’s Oscar-winning best picture “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” — had been in talks in April to join Sony Pictures/Columbia’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” After talks broke off, he returned and closed the deal in May, according to trade reports, which speculated that he would play the Vulture. Feige’s new comment is the first confirmation.
In related news, biracial singer-actress Zendaya responded to fan controversy that her “Spider-Man: Homecoming” character, reportedly named Michelle, may actually be Mary Jane Watson, who in comics since the 1960s is the Caucasian friend/girlfriend/wife of Spider-Man’s alter ego, Peter Parker.
“Whenever we were on set, one of us gets some random character name [on the call sheet],” Zendaya, 20, who was listed as “Michelle” when joined she movie in March, told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
She acknowledged speculation that she is playing Mary Jane in this high-school set reboot, saying, “But of course there’s going to be outrage over that because for some reason some people just aren’t ready. I’m like, ‘I don’t know what America you live in, but from what I see when I walk outside my streets of New York right now, I see lots of diversity and I see the real world and it’s beautiful, and that’s what should be reflected and that’s what is reflected so you’re just going to have to get over it.’ ”
Her description of the character is not in keeping with the traditional depiction of partying model-actress Mary Jane. “My character is, like, very dry, awkward [and] intellectual, and because she’s so smart, she just feels like she doesn’t need to talk to people, like, ‘My brain is so far ahead of you that you’re just not really on my level.’ So she comes off very weird. But to me, she is very cool because she’s deep. She’s always thinking about something, always reading. I like that.”
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is set for release on July 7, 2017