Tom Holland found out he landed the part of Spider-Man via Instagram

Tom Holland (right) and Jacob Batalon (second from left) speak to fans during the Spiderman: Homecoming red carpet event.
Tom Holland (right) and Jacob Batalon (second from left) speak to fans during the Spiderman: Homecoming red carpet event.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Five self-recorded clips, one audition, two screen tests and six weeks later, Spider-Man: Homecoming had found its star. And British actor Tom Holland, 21, learnt that he had landed the coveted title role - at the same time the rest of the world did.

At a media conference after a red carpet event at the ArtScience Museum on June 7 night, Holland says that he was browsing Instagram while at home in bed with his dog, Tessa.

Then he saw that Marvel had posted on their account: "Go to our website to find out who Spider-Man is."

"I went absolutely nuts, ran downstairs and told my family, but my brother Harry who is quite savvy with computers said, 'Dude, they've probably hacked it'", he recalls. But confirmation came via Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who eventually called to confirm the news.

The role has already been played by two other actors before him, namely Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, but Holland says that his take will definitely be different.

"It is daunting and there is a responsibility, but I don't want the fans to have to buy tickets to a movie they've already seen," he says.

 

It helps that he plays a 15-year-old high school student version of Peter Parker, who has already made his debut in the Marvel cinematic universe in Captain America: Civil War (2016). He is confident that audiences "will connect with a much younger version of Peter Parker". Spider-Man: Homecoming opens here on July 6.

Holland adds: "I often find that with superhero movies, especially the ones where the characters get into costume, you lose the character. So I really tried to create a physicality that I could carry through Peter Parker and through Spider-Man, so that when I'm in the suit, you still feel like it is Peter Parker behind the mask."

Referring to his Avengers co-stars, he says: "We've seen the god (Thor), the billionaire (Tony Stark/Iron Man) and the scientist (Bruce Banner/The Hulk) but now it's time to see what happens if a kid got superpowers."

Unlike them, he says his character is very much grounded in reality. "If you gave a 15-year-old superpowers, he would have the time of his life."

In the upcoming film, Spider-Man remains under the watchful eye of his mentor Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr, after he helps out Iron Man's camp in Captain America: Civil War.

Downey turned out to be something of a guide for his younger co-star off-screen as well.

Holland says: "He's 10 minutes early every day, says hello to every crew member, and it just showed me that it doesn't matter how famous you get or how much money you make, you should always treat everyone the same.

"He's a really good role model for me to have as a young man in this industry. If I am ever lucky enough to get there, then I should act as he does."