Sally Field Played Aunt May As A Not-So-Touching Gift To A Cancer Patient
First, let's give you the heartwarming version of this story. An actor played their Spider-Man role as a favor to a friend who was dying of cancer. Aww, that's the sort of factoid designed to get the waterworks running. Sounds like it was a Make-A-Wish child, possibly even some kid no longer even able to tell fantasy from reality.
Now for the depressing side of the story. The Spider-Man movies we're talking about here are The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel. You know, the lame ones.
Okay, seriously though: There is a depressing side of the story. We're talking about Sally Field accepting a role she never liked, not before, during, or after filming. The dying friend was not a child but Field's longtime collaborator, producer Laura Ziskin. The two started a company together in 1984 and made seven films, two directed by Field and one with Field in the starring role.
Ziskin got breast cancer in 2008, and when she asked Sally Field to play the part of Aunt May, it was clear it was the last film Ziskin would ever make. Field accepted the role because of that, but Ziskin ended up dying before the movie was even released. Sally Field was one of several big names stuck in the film, but even her most dramatic scenes didn't blend well into the rest of the story.
So, does Field remember the part fondly as a tribute to her dying friend? Not exactly. When Howard Stern asked how she liked it, she said, "Not especially. It's not my kind of movie." He asked if she at least liked being in a movie that so many from a new generation would watch, and she said, "No. No. I wouldn't ever blow my skirts up." He asked her how much thought she put into playing Aunt May, and she said, "Not a great deal. It's really hard to find a three-dimensional character in it. You work at it as much as you can, but you can't put ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag."
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Top image: Sony Pictures