Tom Holland: It's the biggest risk we've taken with Spider-Man
Spider-Man: Far From Home star on doing his own stunts and working with Jake Gyllenhaal
Tom Holland is only 23 years old, but he has become an international household name with more than 23.4 million followers on Instagram.
Of course, playing the iconic Peter Parker aka Spider-Man helps, but the young British actor made the role his own with the critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), which grossed over US$880 million (S$1.2 billion) worldwide.
Spider-Man: Far From Home takes place after the events in Avengers: Endgame. Everyone is mourning the loss of Iron Man and the burden to save the world now falls on Parker, who is torn between duty and wanting to be an ordinary teenager, one desperate to win the affection of schoolmate MJ (Zendaya).
A new mentor comes in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal's Quentin Beck/Mysterio, who offers our reluctant hero some help.
This will be your fifth time playing Spider-Man.
How did it go?
It feels like yesterday that I got cast in this role, and here I am doing it again. Of all the films I've done in this universe, this one I'm most proud of. It was the hardest one to make, and it's the biggest risk we've ever taken with the character. I don't think audiences are really prepared for what we've got in store.
Why was it the hardest one?
Because the expectations are so high. We're coming off the back of Endgame so we don't want to disappoint in any way. But also, creatively and emotionally, the arc that Spider-Man goes on in this is really dramatic, and he really matures. Maybe he matures more than Tom Holland has matured? (Laughs.)
I was really kind of reaching at times to play Peter. And physically too, we really pushed the stunts to the limit in this film. I don't want to compare myself to Tom Cruise, but there's a sequence in the film in Venice, where I don't have a mask on the entire action sequence. From pole vaulting up a 30-foot bridge and running across poles and flipping off buildings, I did 90 per cent of the stunts so it was really crazy and I got a few knocks and bruises, but it looks great.
Talk about working with Jake.
He kind of fills Tony Stark's shoes in a kind of mentor sense, and him and Peter Parker become fast friends.What's really interesting is, in the original draft, at times they would butt heads and they wouldn't agree, but Jake and I became such good friends so quickly, and the producers and the director would improvise, and basically make them best friends. We become really close throughout the course of the film, and it's a really, really fun dynamic.
What about working with Zendaya?
There was no doubt that she was always going to be a huge success, she was cast before she even left the room in the audition. She did the audition and she left, and I remember the producer going, yup, she's the one. We found our MJ. And from working with her, she's a very versatile actress, she's a lot of fun to be around, she's very bubbly. I just saw her first episode for Euphoria (Zendaya's TV show). It is so, so, so good. And it's funny, she doesn't drink, she doesn't smoke and she's playing this crazy drug addict, and she really comes across like one, she does a fantastic job.
Talk about the movie you're doing with your brother, Harry.
My brother and I are aspiring directors, which is what I'd ultimately like to do in this industry. I love acting but I find the spotlight to be a little scary and a little daunting.
Harry and I have written a short film, we wrote it in the pub. It's kind of like a dark comedy and I'm very lucky in my position where I can be sending this script to the Russos, Kevin Feige and Ron Howard and all these people give me notes. This is my film school that I get to do in a professional environment.
Hopefully, Harry and I will direct that in the fall of this year.
The writer is the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organisation of entertainment journalists that also organises the annual Golden Globe Awards.