To play New York City high-schooler Peter Parker, Tom Holland did the only thing he could to prepare: attend a New York high school.
The English actor playing the titular hero in next summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming shared the anecdote during a Facebook Live fan Q&A on Friday. Part of the routine to become Parker involved dropping into a local Bronx school for a few days. “No one knew who I was or what I was doing. I had a fake name and fake accent,” Holland said. “I went to a school [in London] where you had to wear a suit and tie, and it’s all boys. For me, it was the first time I was in a classroom with girls. It was a really strange experience. It was really fun.”
While Holland entered the school tight-lipped, he did tell a few classmates he would be Spider-Man. One girl in class was incredibly skeptical of Holland’s sudden appearance. “‘What’s your deal, man? Why do you go to our school? This is a science school, you can’t just enroll,'” Holland recalls her saying. “I started doing an English accent and I was like, ‘I have a secret. I’m actually Spider-Man.’ She was like, ‘Dude, you’re nuts. You are literally the craziest guy I’ve ever met in my life.'”
It bodes well for his performance, Holland thinks, since it confirmed Parker as the web-slinger would be a hard sell. “If Peter Parker went up in his school and was like, ‘I’m Spider-Man,'” Holland posed, “everyone would be like, ‘Nah dude, no you’re not. No, no, no, no.'”
Holland fielded questions for a long time, regularly asking if the session could be extended. One fan was curious about the first time he tried on the red-and-blue webbed spandex. It wasn’t as dreamy as it could have been, given the circumstances around his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War this past May. He had to be on set two days after being cast, so a Holland-sized suit was not handy.
“I wore my stunt double’s suit. He’s bigger than me; he’s about 5 inches taller than me, a bit bulkier than me,” he remembered, asking for mirrors to be covered so the grand reveal was truly grand. “I put it on, it felt pretty good, but when I opened up the mirrors, it was like saggy and it looked like a really sad version of Spider-Man. It was not the most heroic Spider-Man you’ve seen. It definitely looked cool, and now that it fits, it looks great. But on the day, I was very disappointed.”
Watch Holland’s full Q&A below, including when he accidentally lets a minor plot point slip out. Homecoming opens July 7, 2017.