Tom Holland still gets referenced as “the new guy,” when it comes to playing Spider-Man. Though, it may not seem like it, Spider-Man: Far From Home already marks Holland’s fifth time playing Spider-Man. He debuted in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and got his own movie in 2017 with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now, add in two Avengers films, and somehow it’s Holland who is the reigning dean of Spidey. (Even time-wise, he’s already passed Andrew Garfield and is closing in on Toby Maguire.)
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Holland’s Peter Parker is still reeling from the events of Avengers: Endgame, especially the fate of Tony Stark. He’s also trying to understand how the world works now that half the world’s population has suddenly reappeared after a five-year absence. (As the audience for this movie will also be wondering, but Far From Home uses a clever technique to explain things.) Peter is trying to figure a lot out as his class embarks on a trip to Europe, which is where he meets Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) – a mysterious (no pun) figure who claims he’s from an alternate dimension who starts to fill that mentor role Peter is missing.
It’s funny how often Holland gets asked about Star Wars, a movie series he has nothing to do with and still hasn’t seen yet. (I am guilty of bringing this up, too.) Holland’s Peter Parker has vintage Star Wars toys in his bedroom, believed to have once been his Uncle Ben’s possessions, but Peter’s fandom doesn’t translate to Holland. Holland does reveal that there’s a deleted scene in Far From Home where Peter has to sell all his vintage toys, but there’s one precious Star Wars action figure he can’t sell – a Star Wars action figure that, it turns out, is a favorite of Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige, who really wanted this character in the movie. (Holland couldn’t remember the character, so we contacted Feige who confirmed what Star Wars character came oh so close to appearing in Far From Home.)
You’ve played Spider-Man in more movies than any other actor already.
Yes, that is correct. I have.
Some people still think you’re the new guy.
This, yeah, this will be my fifth movie. And it’s strange, like I personally still feel very much like the new guy.
Five movies though…
But I’ve been welcomed so graciously by the fans and by Marvel and Sony, and I look forward to continuing on with my Spider-Man journey until I’m the old guy.
With Homecoming, it was compared to John Hughes’ movies. Just a movie about teens. Now this movie has to somehow deal with the supernatural events of Avengers: Endgame.
Yeah, that was always the biggest hurdle, you know. It’s so daunting being the next chapter following the behemoth movie that is Endgame and the ramifications of that tragic, tragic event. It’s incredibly exciting as well. I feel like the Russo brothers teed us up for a really exciting film and Jon Watts knocked it out the park. I’m just really excited and proud to see it, because I feel like we’re giving the fans an opportunity to grieve through Peter Parker.
This is true.
I think Jon [Watts] did a really good job of making Peter very accessible in this film.
Spider-Man’s history is filled with loss. But with no origin story this time, do you feel Tony Stark is kind of Peter’s new uncle Ben figure in a way?
I think he probably was. I think he probably was, you know? I think he was very, very much took on the mantle as his father figure, and losing him is a huge blow to Peter Parker obviously. And that’s what’s so nice about Mysterio kind of flying in is that he can fill those shoes a little bit and be Peter Parker’s mentor and his big brother at the same time.
And that dynamic of Peter wanting a mentor is a big part of this movie.
Yeah, it’s lovely. It’s a lovely dynamic and the dynamic [with Robert Downey Jr.] is also the same off screen.
I mean, we’ve become really close. We’ve become great friends and I ask him for advice and vice versa sometimes. And it’s just become a really lovely relationship for me to have in the industry. Because, you know, as a young actor coming up in this world it can be very scary and it can be daunting. You can get bullied around. And it’s nice to have someone who’s got my back and who will give me some sound advice.
When I type your name into Google one of the first words that comes up is “spoil.” And you’ve had a lot of fun with that over the last few months, but you somehow didn’t spoil Endgame before it came out.
Yeah! I was very proud of myself and obviously there were some massive spoilers I was sitting on. And keeping the secret was not the easiest! But it was a lot of fun, and I’m really excited for the people to see the big spoilers in this movie.
So, I can understand when you’re in an interview process, like this, you’re on guard not to say anything. But how did you not tell your buddies? Like just accidentally?
I’ve got some buddies who I tell and then some buddies who I definitely don’t tell.
I tell my brothers, and I tell my friends, and my parents and stuff – but it’s you guys, the press!
Those are the people I keep secrets away from!
I saw this made headlines again a couple of weeks ago — people are going to keep asking you about The Empire Strikes Back until you actually see it.
Yeah, I know. Still haven’t seen it, though.
You’re going to get asked every time.
People hate it when I say this, but I’m just really not a Star Wars fan.
Peter has Darth Vader’s TIE-Fighter in his bedroom.
That’s correct, yeah.
And he has He-Man figures.
I’ve got He-Man figures. There was a scene that was cut from the film where Peter Parker went and sold all his toys to get the money in order to buy MJ a present…
Oh wow, I hope this is on the Blu-ray.
And one of the toys, it was Kevin Feige, he said, “I need this toy to be in there.” I forget what it’s called, but it’s a really niche Star Wars character and then I end up not selling that toy.
Is it a rare Star Wars action figure? Maybe Yak Face?
I don’t know if it was a rare one, I just know that it was just not one of the mainstream ones. [Ed. note: We reached out to Kevin Feige and he confirmed that the action figure Peter wouldn’t sell was Lobot.]
Another scene not in the movie is one from the trailer, when the cops ask Spider-Man if he’s the new Iron Man now.
Right. I think they just really wanted to jumpstart the movie. Like really get into the idea that Peter Parker needed a break and he was going on holiday. And as you’ve seen from the film, there’s already a whole plethora of action sequences that are so exciting and I just think we just didn’t need one more. And, you know, what’s great about that sequence is, who knows, we might use it again in Spidey 3 or 4 or 5.
Last time I talked to you for Homecoming, you said the most difficult scene was the one underneath the rubble. That was was actually heavy. What scene compares to that in this one?
Interesting. Hm. Well, what we’ve learned from the first film is that a lot more of the action can be done in mo-cap now. So we didn’t even attempt to shoot a lot of the action practically on set, we did it all in mo-cap. So it just meant that the mo-cap sessions were really long and tiring and really tough. So, by the end of each session, my stunt double and myself were struggling to walk around. So I think that would’ve been the toughest. It’s all the fighting on London Bridge and in Prague and Venice and stuff.
So in other words, this time they did not bury you in heavy rubble?
[Laughs] That is correct, yes.
You probably had that written in your contract, “I will not be buried underneath rubble this time. That was difficult.”
Yes, “I will not be drowned. I will not be buried under rubble.”
[Ed. Note: We will have more with Tom Holland after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home to discuss some more spoiler-y aspects of the film’s plot.]
‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ opens on July 2nd. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.