Tom Holland, a relative newcomer to Hollywood, has a monolithic task ahead of him as he prepares to front a cinematic reboot of the $4 billion Spider-Man franchise. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the London native said that, while the character is rooted in decades of comic book history, he wanted to bring something new to the fan-favorite superhero during production, which wrapped in October.
There’s still a ways to go before the July 7, 2017, release of the Holland-fronted Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts, but the 20-year-old aimed to put a fresh spin on Spidey as he joins the larger Marvel Avengers gang.
“You’ve seen the billionaire, the scientist, the soldier. Now it’s time to see the kid,” Holland told the publication. “And every decision we make on set is based off how would a kid react in this situation, so every fight scene we have is designed in a way that’s almost child-friendly, so he never actually punches anyone. It’s all done kind of by accident. I think the biggest difference is his youth and innocence.”
After appearing in the lauded J.A. Bayona-helmed disaster drama The Impossible in 2012, Holland scored his first major Hollywood studio part in Ron Howard’s 2015 epic In the Heart of the Sea, and though his star quickly rose within the industry, he still had to endure a grueling audition process before booking the Homecoming job.
“When we did the screen tests, there were six of us all in this room waiting to audition. It felt like The Hunger Games,” he laughed. “It was a real weird atmosphere because there’s all these kids who really, really want this role. They were like, ‘We’ll let you know tomorrow.’ Then you find out a month later what the verdict was.”
After submitting an audition tape in which he showed off his skills as a trained gymnast, performing flips and rolls to mimic the movements of the character, Holland ultimately found out he’d been cast in the film through a post on social media. “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,” he recalled. “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.”
Assuming fans have the same reaction to his performance, Holland also noted he’s under contract to star in three more Spider-Man films if Homecoming performs well.
“They give you options, and those could be exercised whenever. Like a cameo in Avengers. I’m unclear as to which movies, though. I do know I have three Spider-Man movies and three solo movies contracted,” Holland said. “But if you have another movie, Marvel is so good at working around it. They’re very respectful of your life, really. They understand that you have to work on other movies, and they try and fix it up so you can work around each other.”
Read Holland’s full interview with THR here. Spider-Man: Homecoming, which also stars Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey, Jr., hits theaters nationwide on July 7, 2017.