Tom Holland and Jon Watts talk Spider-Man from the set of Homecoming
Moviegoers have seen five different Spider-Man movies in the last 15 years, and when the prospect of a third version of Spider-Man was announced (despite Marvel Studios’ involvement) many remained skeptical. Tom Holland seemed to win most audiences over with his introduction as the character in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, which not only reinvented him in ways unseen in the previous films, but set the stage for his own solo adventures in the MCU, which is what makes this version of Spider-Man different.
“We’ve seen the Norse God, we’ve seen the billionaire, we’ve seen the soldier – now we get to see the kid,” Holland tells us on the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming, his first solo movie as the character. “And one of the themes of the movie is what would a 15-year-old boy do with super powers? So the opening act to the movie, you see Peter really trying do discover who he is and what he can do, which is something I feel like we haven’t really explored massively in the previous movies… seeing Peter make mistakes and try to rectify them, and learn exactly what he can do. And that was something I was very passionate about, and I know Jon (Watts, director) was as well – and from the first draft that was always in the script.”
A Peter that makes mistakes is certainly in line with how the character has lived his life throughout hundreds of issues of Marvel Comics, sometimes bringing him to the point of quitting his superhero identity altogether. Holland spoke about Peter’s relationship with being Spider-Man in the film.
“It changes very drastically halfway through the movie. You see him really enjoying his powers, really getting to grips with what he can do and just experimenting throughout the movie. But then through a turn of events things happen, and it becomes a real serious matter. Then all of a sudden his powers become a bit of a burden, and it’s nice to play those two different feelings towards his powers.”
Part of the burden in the film is Peter’s still in high school, and has to add his super heroics to the traditional regiment of a busy student. On set, Holland told us the story of how he went undercover at a real American school to get a feel for it before the film began production, and he made an observation which director Jon Watts wanted to instill at the center of the movie.
“The thing he remarked on which I thought was such a great takeaway was that everyone was exhausted,” Watts said with laughter. “That’s what I remember from high school. I remember being so tired. You’re waking up so early and working so hard and then doing so much homework and any extracurricular activities and you’re just exhausted all the time. So we made sure to keep some of that spirit alive just writing about being so tired. Like you’ve just woken up.”
Watts also remarked how the life of being a busy teenager has been part of his vision for the movie since he first pitched it to Marvel.
“When you’re in high school, everything seems like the most important thing and everything bad seems like the end of the world. So if you have a zit or a girl doesn’t like you or you have to fight a super villain, those things when you’re 15 are all at 11.”
That’s one of the additional changes from this Spider-Man from previous versions, and Holland also said the way he encounters the villains of the piece will also feel fresh, saying:
“I think one of the nicest things about his conflict with the villains in this is how different it is with his conflict with Cap and his side (in Civil War). Because that was kind of fun, he didn’t really know what was going on, and you don’t see the Avengers as people who are dangerous. But here the Vulture is definitely a formidable opponent, and he is terrifying. His suit is absolutely terrifying. So the banter picks up a little bit in the beginning, but as soon as Peter realizes he’s a little bit out of his depth, there comes a real battle. And it’s less about making quick jokes and being funny, and more about saving the day and making sure he does the right thing.”
Finally, bringing it all back to the beginning, Holland had nothing but kind words to say about the two Spider-Men that preceded him, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Holland spoke about the influence both had on him and how their versions differ from his own.
“It’s difficult not to take influence from Tobey and Andrew, because they both had such great versions of the character. I think from Tobey I’m taking his sort of less cool side of things, whereas Andrew was very cool and very sort of contained. But then with Andrew, I thought his Spider-Man was fantastic. I thought when he was in that suit, I thought he really came to life, and so there are two things I am taking from both people. For me it’s just making sure I feel like a kid on set, and really be the kid that everyone wants to be, and just have fun with it, and see a superhero really enjoy having his powers.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into theaters on July 7. For more coverage from the set visit, click here.[Gallery not found]