Shailene Woodley is not celebrating a blockbuster movie debut this weekend. The Amazing Spiderman 2 opened in wide release on Friday, and the Divergent actress had been cast to play Mary Jane Watson, a love interest of Peter Parker. But Woodley’s scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.
Director Marc Webb told Movies.com that the decision was made to remove Shailene’s character completely, deleting what was to be a set up for her appearance in future installments of the Spiderman franchise. While noting Woodley’s talent, Webb said:
The relationship between [Peter and Gwen] is so sacred and so powerful, that it just didn’t feel right… [I]t was just about having this obligation to this romance that I thought was sacred. It was just one of those things.
For his part, Andrew Garfield, who plays the film’s hero, agreed with the decision to cut Woodley’s role. The New York Daily News quoted Garfield:
We kind of understood and realized, well, if you look at ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ there’s a reason that Shakespeare didn’t introduce another female character after he falls in love with Juliet.
The actor then affirmed his hope that Shailene will appear in upcoming Spiderman films.
For her part, Spiderman lead actress Emma Stone singled out Shailene Woodley for personal praise, without commenting on her exclusion from the film. E! Online reported Friday that Shailene is one person Emma admires:
She feels good about herself. I like being around women like that.
The compliment is notable, since production apparently feared Woodley’s inclusion in the film would take the attention of theatre goers away from Stone. Emma’s words are a reflection of her personal philosophy that she should not validate hurtful comments made about her or other actresses online, or in other forums. Stone also told E! Online:
When I make a comment about someone or I choose to gossip about someone and speculate about their body or their life or their face, it’s usually a reflection of something I’m feeling myself… That has become ingrained in me. I’m trying to eliminate gossip from my own life.
Shailene Woodley’s exclusion from the Spiderman marquee will probably not cause any setbacks for the starlet’s burgeoning career. In addition to her turn in Divergent, she is set to make waves in June in the film adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars. Shailene famously cut her hair to play the character living with cancer, and donated her long locks to charity.
[Shailene Woodley Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP]