Russo brothers say they fought Sony to cast Tom Holland as Spider-Man
"We were relentless in our pursuit of jamming him down the throat of the studio," Joe Russo told British GQ.
It seems Tom Holland had a bit of an uphill battle to get to do whatever a spider can.
Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo say they had to fight Sony, which owns the film rights to Spider-Man, to cast their future Cherry star as Peter Parker. While the directors and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige were very enthusiastic about Holland, the studio was more resistant to the choice, according to the Russos.
"We talked with Feige at Marvel about Holland and he got excited and then we went to Sony..." Joe Russo said in an interview with British GQ. "And they were like, 'Let's think about it for a minute.' We could tell we were meeting resistance from Sony. So we brought [Holland] back, brought him back, brought him back, and we were relentless in our pursuit of jamming him down the throat of the studio who owns this IP. It came down to a fight, yet Sony just kept dragging their feet."
Joe Russo added that the studio was hesitant to give them control of Spider-Man, and "nervous about handing off something that could ultimately cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars down the line."
"Sony's reservations were: 'Are we loaning it? Or are we giving it to them to help us reinvent it in a way that adds value for us?'" he continued.
Sony was also apparently skeptical about casting such a young actor as the web-slinging hero (Holland was just 19 when he was cast). "It was the first time Spider-Man had ever been cast as an actual teenager, right?" Anthony Russo said. "Which was very important to us; there was a distinct nervousness of casting a kid."
As Joe Russo recalls, it was Holland's screen test with Robert Downey Jr., which is already something of a legend, that finally won him the role. As Holland recalled to EW in 2015, "Robert took me aside and said, 'Listen, I remember my screen test for Iron Man. I remember how terrified I was. Just think of it as an audition. It's nothing too scary. If you get it wrong, we'll just start again. No pressure.' But that kind of raised the pressure a little bit for me. But he was great and super supportive, and because he said he'd been there and had been in the same situation, it made me relax a little bit."
Holland, who's currently at work on the third MCU Spider-Man film, No Way Home (slated for theatrical release on Dec. 17), also reunited with the Russos for their new drama Cherry, currently playing in theaters and coming to Apple TV+ on March 12. "I was worried about it: How are these guys going to go from making the biggest movie of all time to a small film like this?" the actor recently told EW. "But I look back on it, and it's been my favorite movie that I've ever worked on."