She recently delighted audiences as Peter Parker’s Aunt May in Marvel Studios’ and Columbia Pictures’ Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now, Marisa Tomei stars as brilliant psychologist Dr. Updale, the architect of the annual Purge, in Universal Pictures’ new suspense thriller The First Purge.
In the film, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) tests a radical sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community, in order to push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year. But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the marginalized, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.
Now that the NFFA has taken charge of the American political landscape, change—no matter how draconian—is assuredly coming. When Dr. Updale (Tomei) perceives the chance for a risky and theoretical experiment to become an actual one, the Architect of The Purge itself finds a shot at lasting legacy for the country she claims to so love.
When it came time to casting the Architect of The Purge, the production wondered who would be the ideal Dr. Updale, a brilliant psychologist who feels she is using her gifts for societal good…only to realize the horrific impact of what she began.
A researcher who has analyzed how humans have behaved throughout history, Dr. Updale hypothesizes that we are inherently violent. She posits that instead of fighting it, it might be easier to go with it and allow people to express their inherent violence for one day, then contain it for the rest of the year.
Director Gerard McMurray expands: “She is a researcher who wrote a book on Purge, and the government implemented her ideas. The Architect shows the human side of those in power. For the part, we picked Marisa Tomei, who does an excellent job of portraying this psychologist.”
Producer Jason Blum delves into the “good” doctor’s motivation, and what the Oscar®-winning actress brought to the role: “Marissa plays a character who’s working alongside the Founding Fathers, but she’s not that high up. Like the people on Staten Island, Dr. Updale has bought into the idea that this is actually a good thing. Once she realizes that it’s rigged, she tries to stop it. We thought that Marisa was just brilliant in the part. To have a performer of her caliber in this film was an absolute honor.”
Marisa Tomei won an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny. She subsequently earned Academy Award® nominations for her performances in In the Bedroom and The Wrestler.
Tomei was recently seen as May in Marvel Studios’ worldwide blockbuster Spider-Man: Homecoming, and she guest starred in an episode of Hulu’s critically acclaimed series The Handmaid’s Tale.
On the silver screen, Tomei has tackled a diverse range of roles in films such as The Big Short; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Trainwreck and What Women Want.