After an exhaustive and thorough auditioning process that saw just about every up and coming teenage boy actor rumoured to be on a shortlist, Marvel and Sony have finally found their new Spider-Man. Ladies and gentlemen and whatever Nick is, I give you the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Peter Parker: Tom Holland.
The 19-year old British actor’s biggest role to date was in Juan Antonio Bayona’s harrowing tsunami movie The Impossible, a performance that impressed Marvel and Sony Pictures producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal (and me, even if it wasn’t Spidey-like at all). Of the casting, Sony Pictures’ Tom Rothman said that they “saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special.” According to a report from THR, Holland underwent “complex screen tests” to get the job. And yes, it was more than just boys standing around going “THWIP!” while making heavy metal signs.
Marvel and Sony apparently started off with more than 1500 hopefuls between the ages of 14 and 19 who were then whittled down to six actors – Holland, Asa Butterfield, Judah Lewis, Matthew Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Charlie Rowe. They were then all screen tested with Robert Downey Jr. aka Iron Man to determine the chemistry between the older Avenger and the young actors, whittling the field down further to just Holland and Rowe. Holland though was then also asked to test with Chris Evans aka Captain America – the only one to do so – during which he emerged as the clear choice. A decision was made in this week and Holland was informed just 24 hours before the news broke.
The reason why Holland probably tested with both Downey Jr. and Evans, is that it is expected that he will be making his debut as Spider-Man in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War which is currently busy shooting (and features practically EVERY superhero out there). Thereafter Marvel and Sony will be co-producing a Spider-Man solo movie in 2017 as part of their recent deal to “reboot” the character and bring him into the MCU proper. And the man they’ve chosen to make that solo movie is Jon Watts.
If you just went “Who?”, then don’t worry you’re not the only one. Despite the reported short-list of more well known directors, Marvel have gone with the out of left field pick of Watts who made his start in music videos (much like Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb) and helmed the truly disturbing Clown and also the upcoming Kevin Bacon action thriller Cop Car, which actually looks kind of cool. At first glance, Watts’ filmography doesn’t exactly lend itself to Spider-Man, but that’s pretty much what we said about Jon Favreau, the Russo Bros and James Gunn and their respective movies and look at the awesomeness they gave us.
Marvel were apparently looking for a director with good comedic sensibilities, and it is said that Kevin Feige handpicked Watts after being impressed with the director’s take on Spider-Man and also because they were looking for somebody who could deliver something different to the previous films. Based on their track record though, clearly Marvel know what they’re doing when it comes to making inspired, unexpected choices, so I’m going to trust their judgement on this one.
Last Updated: June 24, 2015