Tony Revolori on playing Homecoming’s Flash Thompson
With Spider-Man: Homecoming opening tomorrow, ComingSoon.net chatted with actor Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Dope) about playing Peter Parker’s rival Flash Thompson. We talk about making Flash more of a modern bully, on-set hijinks and what original 2002 Flash Thompson actor Joe Manganiello might think!
A young Peter Parker / Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. Spider-Man: Homecoming also stars Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover and Tyne Daly.
ComingSoon.net: How has the ride been since “Grand Budapest”?
Tony Revolori: Oh man, it’s been fantastic. I got to do a lot of great projects. Worked with a lot of great people, see a lot of great things, do a lot of great things. So, it’s been great.
CS: Do you think diving in head-first by starring in a project of that caliber has prepared you for everything that has come after?
Tony Revolori: One hundred percent, but it also made me spoiled. So I’m like, “So when are we going to the Oscars this year?” So it definitely spoiled me, but the way that I look at it is I dove into the Deep End of the pool, and I swam back to where I could stand and stood there. Now I’m wading myself back to the Deep End again. As quick as possible, but also as graceful as I can. So it’s been great, and I think it helps, to dive into the Deep End because there’s no better way to do it. That’s the way you gotta learn to swim. Just run with the big dogs. (*sarcastic*) Like me and Robert Downey Jr. go out to have dinner every night. Michael Keaton and I – Oh man let me tell you about Keaton. (laughs) I don’t know these people.
CS: But at some point you must have put Joe Manganiello on your vision board, because you’re now walking in his shoes.
Tony Revolori: I mean, they constantly slip off because I’m sure he has massive feet. I love Joe Manganiello’s Flash Thompson, I love all of those “Spider-Man” movies of old! I want him so badly to see the movie. And sure, Flash Thompson in that movie was like tiny, he barely had like three scenes you know, I’m sure he didn’t go through as much. The comic-book-craze wasn’t as big then as it is now, so I’m sure he doesn’t have that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, passing the torch thing. But I want him so bad to see the movie and just tweet at me or email me or do something and be like “Hey bud, good job!” I just want that so bad, but I know it will never happen.
CS: He’s a cool guy, it could happen. It’s within the realm of possibility.
Tony Revolori: I’m sure he’d do it, but I don’t think he’s gonna go, “I’m going to go see ‘Spider-Man’ out of my own will” and go, “This guy played the character I played 15 years ago. Let me tweet at him and say ‘good job.’” Like that’s not going to go through his head.
CS: It was cool the way you portrayed him because Flash is not a physical bully in this, he’s sort of a psychological bully.
Tony Revolori: Well you know, we talked a lot about that. We didn’t want to make him just a bully of old. How do we bring it up? And nowadays the bully culture is online! How do you personify an online bully? That was the goal for me, to try to personify that: Why is he that way? Where does he come from? Why does he do that? Does he realize the gravitas of his words and all that? So I think that’s kind of where it stemmed from. And the filmmakers Jon [Watts] and Amy [Pascal] and Kevin [Feige], they all had ideas for him to become more of a rival than a bully.
CS: Flash is mean, and definitely a coward with all these pretty bad traits, but he felt akin to the rest of them where he’s this kind of awkward guy. He’s clearly not evil, and it almost seems like it’s a phase he is going to eventually grow out of.
Tony Revolori: Yeah that’s where it hopefully ends up going. Because I think that’s what’s so great about Flash in the comic books is that he starts as the jock who is the a-hole that everyone hated in Peter Parker’s life to becoming one of his best friends and being the best man at his wedding. How does that man evolve? I think that’s so beautiful that you can see Peter Parker good through and through from the beginning to the end. But then you can see a change where a bad person becomes a good guy. Or that you can change your own stripes and it can be for the better.
CS: And it makes him more human and less of a stereotype.
Tony Revolori: Absolutely, it makes him a little more sympathetic and people can relate to that more. Like Emilio Estevez’s character in “The Breakfast Club.” You know he’s like, “I have to beat this kid. I wailed on him because my dad, that’s what he says you gotta do.” And that sense of where does this come from, where does this bravado come from in culture nowadays. And why is it there and when you get older you either lose it or continue going for it. So that is somewhere beautiful that we can take this character to.
CS: I thought it was really interesting that you play Flash in this movie and then among your “Dope” crew, Kiersey Clemons is Iris West in “The Flash” and Shameik Moore is Spider-Man in the animated movie.
Tony Revolori: Which is great, all three of us have gained comic book status. But I mean, how could we not? We did a film where we were literally ethnic people talking about how much we loved these movies. With me being one who actually was a huge nerd. Aw man – too big. So I’m sure Shameik and Kiersey know their stuff as well. But Kiersey I think is so amazing, I’m so happy for her playing Iris West and Shamiek as well, kudos to both of them.
CS: We talked a little about doing the whole “Grand Budapest” grinder. But how has doing a big tentpole blockbuster been, and being a part of the machinery of that? What is the thing you didn’t expect?
Tony Revolori: You realize there’s so much waiting. You wait so much. I mean you have stuff blowing up in the corner, you have Spider-Man hanging upside down or jumping down an elevator, doing something. You have to make these things as safe as possible, and sometimes those things take time. So it would take us around two hours just to get four takes because we had to reset everything and make it as safe as possible. And that was something I wasn’t expecting, the waiting/sitting around in my trailer and doing everything. Which, for the most part on “Grand Budapest,” we didn’t have a trailer. On all my other films I never go to my trailer because it’s usually an indie film, everything is just GO GO GO. So that was the thing here where I’m like, “Oh my god. I actually use my trailer.” So that was something that I didn’t expect.
CS: That’s awesome. What is your favorite memory from set?
Tony Revolori: One of my favorite memories on set is when Jacob [Batalon] and I stole two golf carts from Pinewood Studio and just raced them around. And I remembered I almost flipped mine over because I went one way and then it tipped the other way. After that we brought them straight back. When a kid almost messes up and then they are the best kids because they almost messed something up. Like, “Oh, mama I’m just gonna sit here.” And that’s exactly what happened.
CS: And that’s how we learned our lesson.
Tony Revolori: And that’s how we learned our lesson.