Elizabeth Banks says she was deemed 'too old' for 2002 'Spider-Man' role

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Elizabeth Banks didn't need "Spidey sense" to pick up on signs of age discrimination when she auditioned for Mary Jane Watson in 2002's "Spider-Man" at the age of 28.

"Tobey and I are basically the same age — and I was told I was too old to play her," Banks told Glamour UK, referring to the film's lead, Tobey Maguire, who is about 16 months her junior. "I was like, 'Oh, OK, that's what I've signed up for,'" she said.

The role would go to Kirsten Dunst, who was 18 years old. Banks was cast in the film, but in a supporting part.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Elizabeth Banks attends the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Elizabeth Banks attends the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/WIREIMAGE REQUIRED) (L to R) Donald Sutherland, Natalie Dormer, producer Jon Kilik, producer Nina Jacobson, Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence, director Francis Lawrence, guest, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson and Stanley Tucci attend the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Natalie Dormer, Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone and Julianne Moore attend the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/WIREIMAGE REQUIRED) (L to R) Donald Sutherland, Natalie Dormer, producer Jon Kilik, producer Nina Jacobson, Jennifer Lawrence, director Francis Lawrence, guest, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin and Jeffrey Wright attend the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/WireImage)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 11: Elizabeth Banks attends the 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' preview event at Kraftwerk Mitte on November 11, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 11: Elizabeth Banks attends the 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' preview event at Kraftwerk Mitte on November 11, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 11: Elizabeth Banks attends the 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' preview event at Kraftwerk Mitte on November 11, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 11: Elizabeth Banks attends the 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' preview event at Kraftwerk Mitte on November 11, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Elizabeth Banks arrives at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 after party on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Keith Hewitt/GC Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 10: Elizabeth Banks at Balthazar restaurant on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Robert Milan/GC Images)
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Banks' anecdote is the latest coming from a number of actresses who have spoken out about the age gap between male actors and their female romantic counterparts. In March, Olivia Wilde said she was deemed "too old" to play opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street." Last year, Maggie Gyllenhaal expressed similar encounters with sexism in the industry.

Still, Banks said she does not take her career trajectory in Hollywood for granted. "What I'm grateful for now is longevity," she said. "I was never a flavor of the month. I feel very comfortable that I will be working in this industry for a while."

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