FOR THE FIFTH time Spiderman is out to save the universe and the box office. Twenty-three-year-old Tom Holland plays Spiderman with great panache. How long can filmmakers ride the success of the franchise and how do they keep it fresh?
Why should the audience revisit Spiderman? What makes this one different from others?
I’m really eager to see if the audience will be prepared for what’s in store for them, because the filmmakers have taken a big risk, it was hard to make, and my character has really been developed. The journey that Spiderman goes on emotionally and physically is really dramatic, he has matured. Also I had to perform some of the stunts, there is a sequence in which I don’t wear a mask and I had to pole vault up a 30-foot bridge, I was running across poles and flipping off buildings, it was crazy and I got a few knocks and bruises but it was all worth it. It looks great.
Spiderman is of high school or college age. So I would like to ask you, what kind of student were you?
I was a good student in school. I had bad attendance because I was working all the time. I didn’t fit in very well in school because I started working professionally when I was 11, so I grew up very quickly, and was surrounded by adults, and then when I went back to school I was like, ‘Well, you are all a bunch of idiots.’ I grew up real quickly, so I never really fitted in at school. But I did enjoy studying design technology, all of my mom’s side of the family are carpenters, so I always enjoyed that. As a matter of fact, I went through a stage in my career where I must have gone to some 50 or 60 auditions and didn’t get a single job, and then my mom sent me to Cardiff in Wales and I did this carpentry course, so I’m a qualified carpenter, because in England you need qualifications to work on a site. I loved doing that. But it’s funny the course was for ex-soldiers and ex-prisoners. And they were all tough people who were turning their lives around and they were swapping stories and stuff like that, and every time I complained about something, they would say, “Okay, okay actor man”. I also loved playing sports; I liked the camaraderie of that.
Now that you are a known name, do you think people treat you differently?
I haven’t really noticed a difference, I’ve done very well in my career of only being in the spotlight when I need to be, I very rarely go to a premier of a film that I am not in. I very rarely go to high-profile parties.
Yes, but when you are in public. What is it like?
There are occasions when people get excited, they are fans of the movies and they love to meet us and that stuff, which is really sweet and really fun. But in my everyday life I have not noticed a difference.
Do you see yourself wanting to direct some day?
My brother and I are aspiring directors, and that is what I would ultimately like to do in this industry. I love acting and I enjoy it. I find the spotlight a little scary and a little daunting. I think being behind the camera will suit me the best in the long run. My brother Harry and I have written a short film, it’s 12 pages long. It will be a ten-minute short. We wrote it in the pub, it’s kind of like a dark comedy and I am very lucky to be able to send the script to people like Ron Howard and Kevin Feige and they give me notes. I will fund the film myself because I don’t want to have to answer to a studio. If it’s not very good we can just put it away and I don’t have to get into trouble for it. Maybe in five years’ time, I’ll do a feature film.