If there’s one thing Spidey is known for, it’s riffing.
My favorite thing about watching Spider-Man cartoons and playing Spider-Man video games growing up were undoubtedly the wisecracks. No matter the situation he was in, he always had a smarmy zinger locked and loaded. Since these zingers are such a central aspect of Spider-Man’s character, it stands to reason that anyone who wants to play him would need to be exceptionally quick on their feet in the dialogue department. This is, apparently, how Tom Holland was able to land the coveted role.
As part of Variety’s Actors on Actors interview series, Holland spoke to fellow MCU actor Daniel Kaluuya about his audition process for the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. It was a long, arduous process, comprising six different auditions over the course of seven months, in which Holland competed against six other actors. When it came time to do a screen test alongside Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Holland’s agent had one major piece of advice for him: don’t improvise. It was this advice that Holland decided to ignore, and it ended up working rather decisively in his favor.
“It’s the best audition I’ve ever done. Him and I were riffing off each other. My agents told me that Marvel likes you to learn the words exactly — you can’t improvise. And then, on the first take, Downey just completely changed the scene,” Holland said.
“We started riffing with each other, and I mean, to sound like a bit of a d—, I rang my mum afterwards and was like, ‘I think I’ve got it.'”
tom holland is perfect pic.twitter.com/HLNHCTAxlQ
— karl (@themarvelparker) January 20, 2021
Holland was left hanging for six weeks after that before being called in for a second screen test with Chris Evans, playing Steve Rogers/Captain America. “By that point, it had been an amazing enough of an experience that if I hadn’t got the part, I would’ve felt like I’d at least achieved something to get to that point,” he said.
Marvel never actually called him up to confirm his role in the film; rather, he found out he got it when he read an entertainment article online. He was so happy, he accidentally smashed his computer to bits. An awkward moment like that just proves he was born to play Peter Parker.