Tom on Becoming the New Spider-Man & more

London-born Lost City of Z star Tom Holland, 21, was introduced as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. He dons the Spidey suit again to headline his very own film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, opening July 7.

How does this Spider-Man differ from the previous ones?

This is the first Spider-Man movie that exists entirely in high school. What makes Peter such a relatable character is that he’s going through these ridiculous changes in his life while having to remain normal and at high school.

Did you talk with either of the previous Spider-Men—Andrew Garfield or Toby Maguire—before you began filming?

I met Andrew on the red carpet after I shot the movie. He was lovely. It was really, really nice to meet him. I really felt like he was passing on the baton. That’s the only time I’ve spoken to him.

When you’re playing Spider-Man and then you’re playing Peter, do you make a conscious decision to have different body movements so that people won’t recognize Spider-Man when they also know Peter?

Not so much. I really actually try to find similarities between the two so that it’s obvious to the audience that it’s me in the suit. I really try to create a physicality that is unique to me, so that I can convince audiences that it is that same person in the suit, because I sometimes find with superhero movies that it’s quite easy to disconnect from the actual characters as soon as they put the mask on, and so it’s very important to me to come up with a fresh and unique physicality.

Were you a Spider-Man fan growing up?

I was a huge fan. Huge. I had multiple costumes and Spider-Man bedsheets. He’s always been my favorite superhero. The fact that I’m playing him now is so bizarre for me.

How did you get in shape for Spider-Man?

My gym regime now is the Spider-Man regime that I’m on, which is go to the gym and go a little bit crazy. But I love it, I actually really do enjoy going to the gym. It’s a good part of my day and a really good way to channel some of my energy into something positive.

Are you still using electric shock as part of your fitness routine?

Yes, I used to do this training called EMS training. You wear this black suit and do like a yoga class. But while you’re doing the yoga class, the suit essentially stimulates your muscles to a much higher rate than you can stimulate them in a normal workout. It’s not something that you’re supposed to do every day. I just did it once a week on top of training. It was a nice way to rest your body, but also work it at the same time.

What’s your favorite new Spidey gizmo?

I think little “Droney” is the coolest part, because it’s fun that he has a relationship with a drone. It’s going to be a really funny relationship between superhero and superbot, if you like.

Was filming in the jungle for The Lost City of Z harder than wearing the Spider-Man suit?

They both come with their difficulties. Filming in the jungle is all-encompassing—there’s no escaping Mother Nature; it’s relentless. Then filming in the Spider-Man suit is similar because once you’re in it, you’re in it. You can’t go to the bathroom, you can’t drink water and it’s just one big sweat bucket.

What about what we heard about you doing flips as part of your Spider-Man audition?

When you’re doing a self-tape as an actor, you have to do a thing called an “ident,” which is basically a short clip where you introduce yourself; you give them a little bit of information about who you are and what you do. In between every piece of information, I did a backflip just to prove to them that I was capable of that ability.

Were you a Spider-Man fan growing up?

I was a huge fan. Huge. I had multiple costumes and Spider-Man bedsheets. He’s always been my favorite superhero. The fact that I’m playing him now is so bizarre for me.

Your dad, Dominic, is a comedian who wrote a blog about how your career has surpassed his. How is he dealing with your fame now?

He’s an amazing man. We definitely have a really good time joking about where I am and what’s happening to me. But he’s really proud of me. He’s the first person I go to for advice on the business. I’m very lucky to have him around.

Was it your dad’s influence that made you get interested in the performance arts so young?

My mum actually was the reason why I got into the performing arts. She thought I had some dancing talent, so she used to take me to this Saturday school for dancing and I loved it. I really, really fell in love with it. And slowly through that, an opportunity arose to audition for Billy Elliot, and I eventually was lucky enough to get the part. A large portion to me of getting that part was the support from my mum and dad, and them driving me in and out of London to dance auditions.

Who would you like to work with that you haven’t yet?

Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhaal, Alejandro Iñárritu—there’s a whole list of people I want to work with and, hopefully one day, I’ll get to work with just one of them. That would be enough for me.

Do you have a non-Spider-Man film coming up?

I have something called The Pilgrimage coming out very soon. I have a few films that I might be shooting later this year.

You’ve been working a lot lately; what does downtime entail for you?

I try and play golf if I have the time. I like to see friends and catch up. I actually find myself reading scripts and working on other projects and trying to find the next thing to do. But catching up with friends is probably my favorite thing, going to a pub and having a nice pint with my old mates.

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

My biggest challenge is not getting lost in Hollywood. It’s a very easy place to get away from yourself and lose who you are. My biggest challenge is making sure that I remain the same kid as I was before I got Spider-Man. I’ve got a great group of friends and a fantastically strong family who will help keep me grounded to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

Walter Scott / Parade.com

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