Kevin Feige Didn’t Know Who Zendaya Was When She Was Cast in ‘Spider-Man’

“To be honest with you, neither Kevin Feige nor I knew who she was… then we found out she was a totally famous person and felt really stupid,” producer Amy Pascal admits

Zendaya on the red carpet for "Dune: Part Two" (Getty Images)
Zendaya on the red carpet for "Dune: Part Two" (Getty Images)

“Spider-Man” producer Amy Pascal admitted that she and Kevin Feige didn’t know who Zendaya was when she auditioned for the role of MJ in the Tom Holland iteration of the films.

Pascal revealed this in a cover story for Vogue out Tuesday that features the actress, who has pivoted off the press tour for “Dune: Part Two” to promote her upcoming film “Challengers” directed by Luca Guadagnino.

“To be honest with you, neither Kevin Feige nor I knew who she was,” Pascal said. “She was wearing no makeup and she was just dressed like a regular girl, and we were like, ‘Oh my God, she’s amazing. She has to be in the movie.’ And then we found out she was a totally famous person and felt really stupid.”

Zendaya has starred alongside her boyfriend of a few years, Holland, who portrays the current Marvel Cinematic Universe web-slinger in three films thus far: “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017), “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019) and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021).

The actress and model also revealed that she was afraid of her leading-lady role in “Challengers,” Tashi Duncan, since it’s a departure from her usual high school-aged fair, as seen in “Euphoria,” “K.C. Undercover” and more.

“I’m always in a high school somewhere,” Zendaya noted. “Mind you, I never went to high school. I hope people buy me as my own age, or maybe a little bit older, because I have friends that have kids, or are having kids.”

The actress also teased her tennis training alongside costars Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist for the film.

“The first little while was getting the basics, trying to just hit the f–king thing,” she said. “One day, you’d be like, ‘Oh, s–t, I cracked it. I figured it out. I got it.’”

The familiarity went back and forth much like a volley, and she cited Venus and Serena Williams as well as Roger Federer as athletes she connected with for portraying a tennis athlete. She also got input from Coco Gauff’s coach Brad Gilbert.

“Challengers” hits theaters on April 26.

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