He's reunited with "Civil War" costar Robert Downey, Jr. for what promises to be the first Spider-Man movie to really explore life for Peter Parker in high school -- while he also struggles with the consequences of being a teenage superhero. These aspects, coupled with the MCU's signature take on our favorite comic book heroes, will deliver something fans and audiences have never seen before.
And Holland seemed pretty confident in that on set, when Moviefone visited the Atlanta production last year. The actor sat down with us and several other reports to discuss the making of his first real solo outing as the Webhead.
MOVIEFONE: Can you tell us a little bit about the scene, we're seeing here today, what's happening?
Tom Holland: Yeah, today is the first time, sort of, that Peter faces off against Toomes and meets Toomes, and it's pretty badass, actually. It's changed a lot over the last few weeks but the version I think [director] Jon [Watts] has kind of finalized on is pretty awesome.
How has it changed, and how does director Jon Watts' process work with you guys?
I think the basic script and the arc for my character especially has remained the same. I think the arc for Toomes and the Vulture has changed quite drastically from the first draft I read, which, I think for the better. But, no, Jon's cool and he keeps everything fresh, and if there are ever changes, we all are well notified beforehand. I mean, there's only been a couple days where we come in and I've learned the lines for the scene and he's like: "That's not in the movie anymore, it's a different scene." But, no, it's been, he's fantastic to work with.
Was there anything specific, like when they were first writing the script, that you wanted to see your character do?
The whole aspect of keeping him grounded and making sure the audience see a kid as a superhero, because we've seen the Norse god, we've seen the billionaire, we've seen the soldier -- now, we get to see the kid. And one of the most important sort of themes of the movie is: "What would a 15-year-old boy do with superpowers."
So, sort of opening act to the movie, you see Peter really trying to discover who he is, what he can do, which is something I feel like we haven't really explored massively in the previous movies -- is seeing Peter make mistakes and try and rectify them and try and learn exactly what he can do. And that was something I was very passionate about, and I know Jon was as well. From the first, draft that was always in the script.
How did you go about becoming a kid from Queens? What did you do to prepare to be that kid?
It's funny, Marvel actually sent me to a school in the Bronx where I had a fake name, and I put on an accent, and I went for, I think, three days. I basically just had to go to this science school and blend in with all the kids. And some of the teachers didn't even know, and it was a science school, and I am in no way a science student. And some of the teachers would call me up in front of the class and try and get me to do science equations and stuff. It was so embarrassing. But it was actually -- it was really, really informative.
Nobody knew? None of the kids knew?
No one knew. I actually have videos on my phone of me interviewing people and asking them what they thought of the new Spider-Man in "Civil War," and they were like: "Oh, he's great, I love him." And some people were like: "Nah, don't love him."
Can you tell us about the audition process we've heard about, where you auditioned with Robert Downey Jr? What that was like?
That was intense, man. I mean, I was shooting other movies at the time, so I was lucky because I was sort of preoccupied. I think if I wasn't working, I would have just imploded waiting to hear for this movie. But I did two self tapes with Joel Kinnaman, I was making a movie with him. I then did two self tapes with Jon Bernthal, and then I did another self tape on my own, and then finally came out here to screen test with Robert and Chris [Evans]. And, I mean, that for me was a good enough of an experience as itself. I didn't need to get the movie then, I was so happy to have just got that far and to have worked with Robert and Chris, I was happy to just sort of go home. But when this job came in, I've never been happier. It was the craziest day of my life. And we were waiting around for months, it felt like, before I found out.
Do you remember what your audition scene was?
The first three weren't from Spider-Man, they were from... I think it might have been from "Whiplash," one of the scenes. A scene between Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. And then there were a few "Spider-Man" scenes. It's funny, because -- at one point -- my agents were like: "We don't know who you're auditioning for." I was like: "But my lines are of Spider-Man, so who else could I possibly be auditioning for?" They didn't know. So I sort of clocked on then that it was for Spider-Man. But, yeah, there were all sorts of made-up scenes, nothing from the movie. But then my final audition with Robert was the final scene that was in "Civil War" between the two of us.
Can you talk about the action scenes and what we can expect out of this one?
It's exciting, man. I mean, some of the stuff that George and his team, our coordinators, have come up with is -- it's pretty remarkable, actually. We've really pushed Spider-Man to new limits.
There are a few things that we definitely have not seen before, from some of the abilities that he has, and it's really fun. We had a month before shooting where we just prepped stunts, and we trained and trained and trained, and George really trusts me with my abilities, and has let me do as many stunts as he feels comfortable with. So it's been really fun, but I'm definitely excited for you guys to see stuff that Spider-Man's never done before.
We can't wait to see it, either. "Homecoming" hits theaters July 7.