Tom Holland wears the red-and-blue suit as the title character in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’ (Photo: Chuck Zlotnick)
The 21-year-old actor, whose previous credits include the ballet-dancing title character Billy Elliot on London’s West End, “started a few of his readings with flips,” Marvel president Kevin Feige recalls.
“The best part was when he was doing a reading with (Captain America actor) Chris Evans. (Tom) goes, ‘It says here ‘Spider-Man leaps in,’ should I do that?’ and Chris Evans was like, ‘No, you just walk in.’ He, of course, flipped in, and Chris couldn’t believe it.”
Film director Jon Watts, left, talks to actor Tom Holland. Maybe they’re thinking about more stunts to do in the ‘Spider-Man’ sequel. (Photo: Ettore Ferrari, AP)
However, Feige says that it wasn’t Holland’s gymnastic prowess that earned him the role of the wall-scaling superhero who stars in Spider-Man: Homecoming (in theaters Thursday night). Instead, it was the young star’s chemistry with Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. that really won producers over, because it paralleled the relationship between their onscreen characters, Avengers fanboy Peter Parker/Spider-Man and the rock star-famous Tony Stark/Iron Man.
When Holland met Downey, “he was nervous, but he was excited and he did a great job. That’s exactly what it needs to be like when Peter Parker meets Tony Stark for the first time (onscreen),” Feige says. “The added bonus, of course, is that (Tom’s) a trained gymnast and dancer and can do all of the Spider-Man moves better than most stunt men.”
Tom Holland followed stage directions literally in his auditions for Spider-Man. (Photo: David Giesbrecht, Sony Pictures)
Indeed, Holland continued to showcase his skills on the set, when he would suggest stunts that weren’t on the page.
“When you have someone as physically gifted as Tom, you don’t have to rely as much on camera tricks and stunt doubles,” says Homecoming director Jon Watts. “Tom can do so much. It makes it easy for me, honestly.”
But as Holland remembers it, some of his brilliant off-script ideas didn’t go as planned.
There was one time where “I was like, ‘I can do a backflip here, watch this,’ and landed on my (butt),” Holland recalls.
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