"I was in my bed scrolling through Instagram. It had been about a month since my audition. And Marvel just posted a photo saying go to our website and find out who the next Spider-Man is. I went on the Marvel website on my computer, and there it was: The new Spider-Man is Tom Holland. I went ballistic - like, absolutely nuts."—Tom Holland.
Most of us are still figuring our lives out at 21, but at that age, Tom Holland had already landed a role as one of the most popular superheroes of all time, in some of the biggest films of the decade. The newest Spider-Man is another textbook Hollywood example of a Brit playing an American, but there’s more to him than meets the eye—and no, that doesn’t mean we expect him in the next Transformers film, although he’d surely kick butt in it. From his start on the stage in London’s famed West End to his role in the blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War, his star will only continue to rise. Here are 42 web-crawling facts about Tom Holland.
"The most important thing, in anything you do, is always trying your hardest, because even if you try your hardest and it's not as good as you'd hoped, you still have that sense of not letting yourself down." - Tom Holland
Holland has developed a reputation for spilling secrets about the MCU films he’s involved in. First, he accidentally revealed spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming. As co-star Laura Harrier said, “Tom is terrible at it (keeping secrets)! He is the worst. He tells everything.” Afterward, the higher-ups at Disney went out of their way to stop him from spoiling anything else from the valuable franchise. These efforts included giving him fake scripts and withholding key information about the plots of the films until it was absolutely necessary, like who he fights in the films.
When Zendaya was cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, it was rumored that her role would be that of Spidey’s iconic love interest, Mary Jane. Unfortunately, the actress received a wave of hate online since fans didn’t want a black MJ. Holland was there to support his co-star, arguing that their generation is more open to seeing someone of a different race play a beloved character. He also added that Zendaya wouldn’t let the hate get to her: “…she’s so powerful and so strong willed and it’s not going to shake her at all.” Now that’s the kind of guy you want by your side as your co-star.
Holland was in competition with hundreds of other people for the role of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, so he decided to add some pizzazz to his audition tape. He says “I basically did like a somersault into [the] frame and then a somersault out of frame ‘cause I basically—I was like, they may never see this, but…I always did a little acrobatic demo to try and convince them to give me a role.” Looks like he had the right idea!
Holland has gained praise for his American accent, but some work goes into the accent that his film audience isn’t privy to. Holland’s preferred place to practice is in the shower: “I always have to practice my American accent; I do it every day in the shower. I shower in American, just so I’m ready.”
Tom is a dog lover, and has a pit bull named Tess. He also acts as an advocate for the breed, criticizing the fact that the breed is considered dangerous and isn’t legal in England.
As of 2015, when his star was first rising, Holland was dating his high school sweetheart, Elle Lotherington. Since then, there has been little word on Lotherington and more and more rumors circulating regarding Holland possibly being involved with his Spider-Man: Homecoming co-star, Zendaya. Earlier this year, Holland said that Tess, his pit bull, is his true girlfriend. His true relationship status is still up in the air.
In May 2018, while walking in Kingston, UK, Holland found a stray dog and decided to take it to the vet to make sure it was okay. He actually posted a video to his Instagram trying to reach the owner, and letting them know where he was taking their pet. With 8.2 million followers, the odds are in his favor that the owner found their dog.
Despite his age, Holland was already a pretty experienced actor by the time he was cast in Captain America: Civil War. His early works included roles in The Impossible and a stage version of Billy Elliot in London.
Holland sat down with Rotten Tomatoes to give them his top 5 films. They are:
He may be biased about #5, since Marisa Tomei, who plays May Parker in the MCU, stars in it.
Holland has stated that he aspires to recreate a performance as powerful as Edward Norton’s debut role as an accused murderer in Primal Fear: “Not in a sense of recreating that character, create a character on a similar sort of level that Edward Norton did.”
Holland was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was young, which led his dad to send him to a private school in order to get more personalized attention. As his dad says, the investment was a “wise” one.
Holland took hip-hop dancing lessons at Lynn Paige’s Nifty Feet Dance School in Wimbledon, England. These lessons led to Holland being noticed by an agent and auditioning for his stage role.
Holland was initially considered too small for his role in Billy Elliot, but he was finally able to snag the role after his eighth audition, working to get slightly bigger after each audition. His secret? Ballet, which makes sense considering the play tells the story of a young boy who wants to learn ballet.
Holland performed his own stunts before he joined Spider-Man: Homecoming, enjoying the art of free running with his friends: “Me and my mates go free running all the time… I’ve probably jumped four meters (13 feet) on to grass and two meters (6.5 feet) between buildings.”
After his final audition for Captain America: Civil War, Holland was told that he would hear back about the decision the next day. Six weeks passed before Holland found out he had the role… through a Marvel Instagram post.
His The Impossible co-star, Naomi Watts, described Holland as a “raw, open talent that is just so easy to work with… he’s inspiring, he kind of lifts everyone’s game around him because he can do nothing but tell the truth.” Many reviewers of the survival film, which followed a family affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, said that Holland stole the show from Watts and Ewan McGregor, who played his parents.
Prior to Avengers: Infinity War, Holland starred alongside Chris Hemsworth in the disaster film, In the Heart of the Sea. Holland said that Hemsworth tried to put in a good word for him during the audition process for Captain America: Civil War.
Holland is a former pupil of The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. Prior to Holland, the school was known for talented alumni like Adele and Jessie J.
As anyone with a pair of eyes can tell you, Holland looks younger than his age. This has been a relief for fans, and there’s been a wave of social media posts from fangirls who were relieved to find out that Holland is of legal age, including one tweet that said “Pretty sure 75% of my theater took out their phones to look up Tom Holland’s age 20 minutes into the movie.”
Although his Spider-Man predecessor, Andrew Garfield, is also English, Holland is still the first non-US born actor to play Spider-Man, since Garfield was born in the US.
Holland worked with Jon Bernthal on The Pilgrimage, leading Holland to make an audition tape for the MCU with Bernthal. Now, the two exist in the same universe, as Spider-Man and The Punisher, respectively.
Holland’s loose lips when it comes to spoilers made studio heads wary of keeping him in the loop, but Holland knew about Kendrick Lamar’s involvement on the Black Panther soundtrack months before it was announced. He was excited when the news finally broke, saying “They know that? I knew that ages ago, and I’ve been trying so hard to keep that a secret. I’m so glad you guys know!”
Many years before it was his turn to suit up for Captain America: Civil War, Holland would wear cheap Spider-Man suits for days at a time as a kid. He said: “I definitely went through multiple costumes. I’d go to bed in my costume, wake up in it, [and] spend all day in it.” Hope he at least let his mom wash it sometimes.
In Holland’s own words, he’s played “a lot of wide-eyed kids” and looks forward to playing some different, more complicated roles as he develops.
Holland recently got some credit on his style, when he successfully pulled off the risky look of a suit with a crew neck tee, with critics saying “…for a young guy like Tom Holland to pull it off, it’s worthy of a mention.” Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a model can.
Tom Hiddleston, best known as Loki, actually suggested that Holland should play the God of Mischief. Hiddleston mainly based this on the dares Holland comes up with for his castmates.
Although he’s only headlined one film, Holland has already played Spider-Man 3 times, just like Tobey Maguire. While Tobey had his films spread out over five years, Holland’s three appearances were condensed into two years.
According to the Russo Bros, the directors of Captain America: Civil War, Holland’s talents for dancing and gymnastics were a key part of why he was cast.
Although Tony Stark was Spiderman’s mentor on screen, behind the scenes Tom Holland had a very different father figure from the cast of the MCU. Holland actually credits Chris Hemsworth for giving him the best advice of all. Hemsworth emphasized the importance of work ethic to the young Spidey star.
The director of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jon Watts, assigned the cast to have a John Hughes movie marathon since Hughes was the master of the coming of age teen film in the ‘80s. Holland hosted the marathon for the cast at his Atlanta home, “…and we just watched them all in one day, and just had like a Domino’s day.” Sounds like a great way to spend a rainy day!
As Holland began his search when he wanted to buy his first apartment, he received a call from his mom about a great two-bedroom apartment. It turns out that she’d already put in an offer for the apartment, which was a literal stone’s throw from their family home in London.
Holland wore a thong underneath his extremely tight Spider-Man suit. That's one way to do it, I suppose.
Being cast when he was just 19 years old, Holland is the youngest actor to be cast as Spider-Man, as opposed to 25 for Tobey Maguire and 26 for Andrew Garfield.
As a 21-year-old, getting to play Spider-Man is an amazing experience. Even better is getting to star alongside a big group of all your favorite actors: "It was just a real whirlwind to walk on set and see 30 of your favorite actors dressed up like superheroes, just having a coffee and hanging out. It was so bizarre," Holland said of the experience.
Speaking of favorite actors, Holland may have some screen time in a Tom Hardy film, if the rumors about a cameo in Venom hold any salt.
To prepare for his role in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Holland secretly attended the Bronx High School of Science. He used his acting coach’s name as an alias and the only people who knew his real identity were his teachers and a few members of the administration. Tom also had a fake ID, which nearly foiled his mission since it was a copy of the ID of a real Bronx High School of Science student, Arun Bishop. On the first day, the scanners recognized their IDs matched and security personnel was called over. Luckily, they played along and Holland’s cover wasn’t blown. Was he preparing for a role as Spider-Man or as a spy?
Holland is a fan of Miles Morales, the black and Hispanic successor/pupil of Peter Parker from the comics. He actually hopes to appear on screen with Morales at some point in the future: “I think it would be great. We’ve definitely put the building blocks in.”
The Spider-Man suit took some getting used to for Holland, especially the egg-shaped helmet he had to wear under the mask. With a lack of peripheral vision, Holland ended up taking a real punch from a stuntman.
You may have read reports that Holland ran into some problems working with one of his Avengers: Infinity War co-stars. Gasp! Well, don’t expect any stories of behind-the-scenes fistfights, because that problem? It was that Holland found Chris Pratt just too funny to work with, and had trouble keeping his laughter in during takes. Can you blame him?
In a 2013 interview for How I Live Now, long before he got his role in the MCU, Holland stated that he would love to play Spider-Man one day. When asked if he would like to play a superhero, he said “Maybe Spider-Man, in ten years time…The reboot of the reboot.” Can he also hook me up with some winning lottery numbers?
While preparing for his role undercover at Bronx High School of Science, Holland would fight boredom by trying to get the other students to believe he was Spider-Man. Most either didn’t believe him or didn’t recognize him. That said, there was one instance of a group of girls Googling his name and going “a little crazy.”
Holland thought he was about to do a regular interview to promote Avengers: Infinity War, but a clever interviewer and a couple of Holland’s friends had a different idea. The interviewer contacted two of Holland’s old friends, and they listened in to the interview on an earpiece, guiding the interviewer to ask the young actor weird questions and make him uncomfortable. It escalated with the interviewer asking to lick Holland’s shoes before he finally revealed that he had Holland’s mates on the line.
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