While many are excited to see Spider-Man finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe with next year’s Captain America: Civil War, it’s hard to forget the exhaustive casting process that took place earlier this year. The rumors began swirling back in March of this year, when Umberto Gonzalez hinted at the possibility of relative new-comer Sam Strike had landed the highly coveted gig. Of course, that was shot down shortly after by Gonzalez, leaving things to quiet down for a short time, before a new report later that month turned our attention to Mateus Ward. Unlike with Strike, Ward was only a name mentioned as being up for the role, so it wasn’t too surprising to see his name off the shortlist that hit in April.
Shortly after the shortlist hit, rumors implied that Asa Butterfield was the frontrunner for the gig, which then led to the rumor that he’d actually been cast in the role in May. So it was a bit surprising that, once Marvel finally announced who’d been cast as the web-slinger, it turned out to be Tom Holland, someone that’d been in contention from early on but never seemed to be a frontrunner for the gig. But it turns out, no one was more surprised than Holland to learn he’d gotten the role as he’d initially learned about his casting when Marvel posted the press release on their site.
While speaking with The Daily Beast to promote his latest film, In the Heart of the Sea, which co-stars Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, Holland talked about the exhaustive auditioning process he went through and what we can expect from the still untitled 2017 Spider-Man film.
According to Holland, when he first learned about the deal between Marvel and Sony, and that they’d be recasting the role of Spider-Man, he immediately put in a call to his agent in hopes of submitting an audition tape, only to learn that they’d actually request that he’d do so.
That alone was crazy. I couldn’t quite believe that Marvel knew who I was.
After submitting two tapes to the studio, Holland went to work on his next project, Pilgrimage, which co-starred Jon Bernthal, who was just cast as Frank Castle/The Punisher earlier thsi year. At that point, Marvel had asked him to submit a third tape, which he had help on from Bernthal. And although his agents seemed confident with each new tape submitted that he’d get the call soon enough, things ended up drawing on a bit longer than anticipated, as Holland ultimately ending up submitting five tapes to Marvel in total.
I went on to my next movie, Pilgrimage, and by that point I’d done two self-tapes, and they asked me to do another self-tape. So I did a second set of sides and this time I had Jon Bernthal helping me out, which was great. I had to do those sides twice and my agents kept telling me, ‘This is the one!’ And then they’d ring me saying I have to do another one. I ended up doing five self-tapes in total.”
After his series of self-tapes, Holland moved on to in person auditions with casting director Sarah Finn, which led to him doing screen tests with both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. It was during his screen-test with Evans that Holland was required to do a “movement” test, so Holland, who is a former gymnast, decided to show them just what he was capable of in hopes of landing the role once and for all.
We had to do a movement test and then I said, ‘Can I just demonstrate some of the things that I can do?’ and they all were a little unsure of what I was talking about, and then I did a series of backflips and landed on the X, and was like, ‘Thank you!’ and then just left.
Once he was through with the screen-tests – having also completed five audition tapes beforehand – Holland says it was a waiting game, and that he actually learned about his casting when Marvel posted the press release on their site. Afterwards, Marvel Studios head honcho, Kevin Feige, called him to congratulate him on landing the role.
Then I got a phone call from [Marvel honcho] Kevin Feige, who said, ‘I just want you to know that we’ve cast you as Spider-Man,’ and I thought, ‘I know! I already saw it online.’ But he was very nice and welcoming.
This is the most recent example of just how secretive Marvel is, going so far as casting someone without them even knowing yet. It was probably a case of getting the information out there before someone else beat them to it.
When Holland’s solo film debuts in 2017, it will be unlike anything we’ve seen in the MCU. Most recently, the MCU films have been large scale (Ant-Man aside) and featured world devastating events. For Spider-Man however, he will be dealing with threats in his neighborhood and personal life instead of trying to save the world from evil organizations and falling cities.
It’s not The Dark Knight. One of the special things about what we’re going to try and create is that you’re going to see the biggest independent film ever. It’s not going to be an epic thing; it’s going to be a film surrounded by these incredible things, but that follows this boy and his life. Peter Parker is a favorite of many because everyone can relate to him, and we’re going to try to make everyone relate to our Peter Parker. And John Hughes is a perfect example of what we’re going to try and do.
The coming of age story Jon Watts wants to tell should fit very well with a smaller threat. Previously, Kraven has been rumored as a possible main villain but a bounty hunter does not seem to follow that story. Hopefully we will get some information on the villain shortly, and should know without a doubt who it will be by the time it enters production.
The currently untitled Spider-Man reboot is scheduled to hit theaters July 27, 2017.
Source: The Daily Beast