Tom Holland’s Spider-Man debuted in Captain America: Civil War to the joy of many viewers, including James Gunn and Tobey Maguire. Now, interviews with Marvel head Kevin Feige, Chris Evans, and Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo explain how Holland nailed his Spider-Man audition last year.
We already knew Holland won the part during screen tests with both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. The Russo brothers and Evans revealed to Entertainment Weekly how Holland set himself apart right away. Evans recalls that the scene prospective Spider-Man actors were doing started with the stage direction, “Spider-Man flips in and lands.” Holland offered to go ahead and do the flip. Studio executives didn’t want him to risk an injury, but Joe Russo told him to go for it. Evans relayed that Holland stuck the landing.
Joe Russo explained to Entertainment Weekly why Holland’s athleticism is “f*cking invaluable.”
“As important as it is to capture the essence of the character on an emotional level, there’s an incredible physicality to these characters. So to see a kid who is a gymnast, and you know you’re going to be digitally mapping to his movements… to have somebody who can move that way, it’s f*cking invaluable.”
But it wasn’t just his physicality that impressed Marvel. Holland also nailed a screen test with Robert Downey, Jr., but for a different reason. Kevin Feige spoke about that screen test — and what they were looking for in this new Spider-Man — in a very extensive interview with Deadline (the same interview where he spoke about Marvel’s commitment to a Black Widow movie).
Feige points out how Holland’s audition with Downey nailed what they were looking for: A very young Spider-Man who’s brimming with positivity and works as a counterpoint to the rest of the Avengers.
The other heroes have a lot of history together. They have a lot of angst, they have a lot of geopolitical issues that they’re dealing with, and it’s heavy. This kid basically feels like he hit the jackpot. The most famous man in the world, Tony Stark, asks him to go to Germany and participate with the Avengers and he loves every minute of it. That’s fun. That’s who Spider-Man is, and we can and will do much more of this in Spider-Man: Homecoming. You saw it in the comics; he constantly talks. In Civil War he goes up against Falcon and at one point Falcon says, “I don’t know if you’ve been in a fight before, but there’s usually not this much talking.” That’s Spider-Man to us. That’s what we love. Tom Holland, God bless him, is that in real life. This amazing young English actor who was brought over here, got into our audition process and suddenly found himself in a room, doing a scene with Robert Downey. I swear it, the exact dynamic that we wanted between Peter Parker and Tony Stark, we had between Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr.
This jibes with how Holland himself described his version of the character: “A real kid reacting to Avengers just how a real kid would.”
Hopefully we’ll see a lot more of that when Spider-Man: Homecoming opens July 7, 2017.