There’s a new Spidey in town, and while his standalone feature isn’t slated until 2017, he will be swinging into action in Captain America: Civil War.
So ahead of his big debut, here are five things to know about 19-year-old Tom Holland, your new friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
1. His super power is dance.
The British actor was just 10 when a choreographer noticed his talent at a dance competition. After eight auditions and two years of intense training, he got his big break performing in Billy Elliot the Musical on the West End, first as Billy’s best friend, Michael, and later as the lead role.
Here’s Holland telling the story:
2. He’s got Spidey’s moves.
Spider-Man is known for his lithe acrobatics, and after years of dance training, Holland has become a very skilled gymnast.
With moves like these, Marvel is going to save tons of money on CGI:
3. He can overcome the impossible.
Holland got his big onscreen break in 2010 starring in The Impossible alongside Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. The film was based on a true story about a family on vacation in Thailand during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Holland described the tough audition process in a 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a scene basically where we’re on the tree [after the tsunami] and I was asking my mum to promise that she wouldn’t die. So it was pretty hefty stuff,” he said.
“Later, [director Juan Antonio Bayona] asked me to write a letter or improvise something basically saying goodbye to my mum. And I started reciting it and I started crying. Like crying my eyes out. He told me while shooting, that from that moment he knew that I was going to be Lucas. But he still decided to put me through three or four more brutal auditions.”
4. He already knows Thor.
Holland costarred with Chris Hemsworth in In the Heart of the Sea. In the film, which was based on the true story of the whaling ship Essex, Holland played Thomas Nickerson, the youngest crew member, while Hemsworth played Owen Chase, the first mate.
Playing a physical role like Spider-Man is sure to create some difficult days on set, but from Holland’s description of filming In the Heart of the Sea, it sounds like he’s already prepared for the worst.
During a scene in which he had to retrieve oil from the head of a prop whale, Holland told EW, “The trouble was that, obviously whale oil is a lubricant, so they had to pour this lube down the top of this whale. The first time I went in, it took them about 15 minutes to try and get me out again, because it was just so slippery. They’d pull me up halfway – and then I’d just slip and fall right back in again. It was probably November, it was one in the morning, we were outside, I was covered in this jelly stuff, I was freezing, it was awful. It was probably one of the hardest days of work I’ve ever had in my life.”
5. He learned he got the part online.
Landing the role of Spider-Man was no easy task. Holland was asked to send in five self-recorded audition tapes before he got called for in-person auditions with Marvel.
After reading some lines with Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) and Chris Evans (Captain America), Holland endured an excruciatingly long period of radio silence.
“Then, I was having this terrible day and I went home and was scrolling through Instagram, and I saw Marvel had posted a photo of Spider-Man with the message, ‘We have cast the new Spider-Man! Go to our website to see who it is,’ ” Holland told The Daily Beast.
When he visited the website, he saw his name. “I learned about it online with everybody else, and I just went bananas.”