My top secret Spider-Man Homecoming set visit trip has been out of the bag for a few months, but sometimes it still doesn't feel real. I'm still in disbelief over the fantastic things that were packed into that day.
My very favorite part of the day was sitting down with Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal on set of Spider-Man Homecoming. Simply learning about their love of Spider-Man, their affection and respect for Tom Holland, and everything that goes into all their working relationships was a huge thrill, and I felt such a connection to the movie afterwards.
Interviewing Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon on the set of Spider-Man Homecoming was a very close second in my list of favorite events of the visit. It was absolutely the most entertaining part of the set visit, and I've been waiting so long to write about it!
Tom Holland plays Peter Parker and (of course) Spider-Man in Spider-Man Homecoming.
Jacob Batalon plays Ned, a classmate and best friend of Peter Parker.
Not long before we sat down to interview Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon, we'd had the opportunity to watch the two of them film a scene from the movie.
It was fun to see their on-screen dynamic just before meeting with them and taking in their off-screen personalities.
While both Tom and Jacob were different than their characters, I loved that they seemed to be best friends and interacted in a similar way to the way they do in Spider-Man Homecoming!
Exclusive Spider-Man Homecoming Interview with Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon
Question: What did you do when you found out you had been cast as Spider-Man for Spider-Man Homecoming?
Tom Holland: That was a crazy day for me. I was in my bed and I was just scrolling through Instagram. Marvel had posted a photo of Spider-Man with “Go to our website to find out who the next Spider-Man is.” I was like, “that won't be real.” At least they would ring me.
So I went to the website and the first thing on there was the new Spider-Man thing. But the first thing I did was I closed my computer because I was so petrified on what the verdict was going to be. I opened it back up and it said that they had cast me.
I lost my mind. But then my brother Harry was like, “They've probably been hacked.” Eventually Kevin rang me up and said, “We want you to be our Spider-Man.” I was like, “I know, dude. You put it on Instagram.”
Jacob: That's a dope way to learn, though.
Question: Since Spider-Man has already been done, was it hard for you to find your own version of Spider-Man?
Tom Holland: Yeah. It's difficult to not take influence from what Tobey and Andrew did. They had such special things on what they did with the role.
One of the main things for us is making sure we see a kid. We've seen the billionaire, we've seen the soldier. We've seen the God. Now it's important to see what the kid can do.
Question: With all of the crazy sets and stunts, what's the craziest part of production so far?
Tom Holland: I've never been the lead role in a movie before. I was like, “Do I get a break ever?” And they're like, “no. Not really” But it's been really great and I've been so well looked after. Everyone has been very supportive of me. It's been a tough road but it's made easier by the amazing people that work here.
Jacob Batalon: I think what's great about this movie is that Marvel is such a family. When you work with these people they know you for life. It's a really sweet and genuine environment that we're in all the time. It's really humbling to be a part of it.
Question: Do you read any of the social media and news that's coming out about Spider-Man Homecoming?
Jacob Batalon: For the most part there's a mix of hate and love. But the people who love us are really, genuinely gracious. They say the nicest stuff and they can't wait for the movie to come out.
Tom Holland: We have to look at it in a funny way.
Jacob Batalon: They love to judge.
Tom Holland: Since Comic-Con we've had such a huge amount of support on social media. It's really given us a second wind to really push for the movie. Also, now the big hitters have arrived. Robert showed up. Jon Favreau has been here. It's been the perfect way to finish the movie to finish with them.
Jacob Batalon: It's been a lot more professional when them around.
Question: How long did it take you two to build your friendship?
Jacob Batalon: Since the audition.
Tom Holland: We're shooting the scene that Jacob auditioned with. It's amazing to see how far we've come. From day one we were thrown into the deep end. We had a really difficult scene to do.
Jon (Watts) was really cool, making sure we bonded before we were shooting. And Jacob lives with us now. I'm here with my best friend from home. He came over one day and he just hasn't left yet. He's been here for nearly a month and a half and hasn't moved back.
Jacob Batalon: You know, I'm not going to lie. I did complain about the hotel I was staying at.
Tom Holland: There was one moment where I said to Harrison, “is he going to go? He's moved in. We have loved having him.
Question: Was it easy for you to grasp the New York accent?
Tom Holland: Yeah. As an actor I love working in an accent because it immediately separates who you are as a person. Being from England all of the TV we watch is American. All the music we listen to is American. It was easy to pick up at home.
The thing I found was difficult; my dialect coach helped me with making sure it was a New York accent. We recorded people in New York and picked up little phrases that only people in New York say, like, “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah…” I say that all the time in the movie. So we really tried to dial in a proper Queens accent.
Do you see yourself going back to your skills? Do you use your dancing and agility skills in Spider-Man Homecoming?
Tom Holland: Every single day. Even if there's not a stunt, Jon [Watts] is like, “You couldn't just do a flip off that, could you?” “If you need me to, Jon…why?” “Just because it looks cool…”
It's been what I think the most useful skill I've learned in my life. Mr. Dave Grant, my old gym teacher would teach me when I was a kid. It's been a godsend to be able to move with the stunt guys. We could train and we did this really cool sequence that we all collaborated on.
Question: What is it like to be in a Marvel movie?
Jacob Batalon: This is the first huge thing I've done. I've never been pampered so much in my life. It's kind of crazy. In between takes there's hair and makeup always tending to you.. I'm not used to that stuff. I'm really big-headed now. Sorry guys.
Tom Holland: For me, to be a part of one of these is mind-blowing. I remember watching Iron Man for the first time when I was nine. I could have never imagined that I would be here one day.
Jacob Batalon: You're Spider-Man, man! That's crazy!
Tom Holland: I know!
The funny thing is, my best friend Harrison and used to fight over who would win in a fight: Spider-Man or Batman. I used to always think Spider-Man would win. I now can be like, “I am Spider-Man…when you're Batman we can have the same argument.”
Question: How do you relate to Spider-Man and Ned in real life?
Tom Holland: I think one of the reasons that Peter Parker is one of the favorite superheroes for kids is because everyone can relate to him. Especially boys. Everyone goes through not doing their homework, trying to ask the girl to the dance. Being late to school.
Jacob Batalon: Basically the whole high school bit.
Tom Holland: Yeah. Because that's so relatable. And for me, I never did my homework. I always forgot to do it. Just to be a kid lost in the world. Every kid is like that at some point. I was and it was really easy to recreate that feeling.
Jacob Batalon: I thought it would be hard doing high school things all over again because I didn't enjoy high school. It's been fun living in that innocense and the sincerety.
Tom Holland: I went to a high school in the Bronx for two days undercover with a fake name and accent. Just because American high schools are so different than the school I went to. I had to wear a suit and tie every day. It was just boys. To experience high school on a completely different level was so amazing and so helpful for the movie.
I was trying to document it all. There's a video of me in a classroom filming myself and the teacher is behind me. He sees me filming and he throws a board marker and he hits me in the back of the head. It's so funny. I felt like I was back in school again.
I was always like a goody-goody at school, but I was like, “Now, I'm going to be that kid that just doesn't listen.” But as soon as the teacher told me off I was like, “yes, sir.” I apologize, sir.” I became a 15 year old boy. It was funny.
Question: There's a lot of talk that Spider-Man Homecoming is action movie meets a John Hughes movie. Like a classic high school film. What do you think about that?
Jacob Batalon: The first two weeks we were filming were literally at a high school doing all the high school scenes.
A week after that we started doing the Spider-Man stuff. That's when it really started to come together. At the beginning it felt like we were doing an indie movie. There were no special stunts or anything. When you started putting on the suit everything started to become serious. That's when the green screens came in.
Tom Holland: One of the nice things about the action sequences is that you're still constantly reminded that Spider-Man Homecoming is like a John Hughes movie.
As soon as I do something that I think is really badass, I make a mistake and I don't look badass any more. This is the coolest but least cool Spider-Man you're going to see in a really long time.
Question: Have you gotten star-struck with any of the other actors in Spider-Man Homecoming?
Jacob Batalon: Ok. So…I'm not going to lie. Marissa Tomei is in this film and I have a couple scenes with her. I'm not going to lie, I am so attracted to this woman. She is really beautiful and funny and sweet.
Tom Holland: You know people are going to read this? This is going out to the world.
Jacob Batalon: I want the world to know. I did try a little extra hard when she was working with us. That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to embarass myself.
Tom Holland: I think you've done that.
Jacob Batalon: Yeah…
Tom Holland: We had a really surreal experience yesterday with some of the guys. To see them work together was a real privilege. To see it firsthand was amazing.
Jacob Batalon: As an actor you appreciate people who have done this for a long time.. Watching them work…I couldn't even really believe what I was watching.
Tom Holland: It was great.
Question: What was it working with Robert Downey Jr.?
Tom Holland: He's so fun to work with.
Jacob Batalon: He is hilarious.
Tom Holland: He would be like, “Oh…I changed all of your lines.”
Jacob Batalon: What's funny about that is that Marvel gives him…the producers let him do that.
Tom Holland: It's great, though. Because he's a real actor. You read a scene and you can take it in one direction. You work together. We sat down together and he was like “where are we going to take this?” We really workshopped it together and decided how we thought the scene should go down.
Then he would go pitch it to the producers and directors and it was great. It's great to work with someone like that. Who has the ability to bring their own thing to set. He's also just a badass, you know? I mean, he's Robert Downey Jr. He's Iron Man!
Jacob Batalon: He was teaching me moves for how to get out of a headlock yesterday.
Tom Holland: At one point he punched me in the arm like a little too hard. He was teaching us Kung Fu and stuff. It was awesome. It was really cool.
Question: If you could take anything from the Spider-Man Homecoming set, what would you take?
Tom Holland: Robert's Audi.
Jacob Batalon: Yeah. Definitely…his watch, too.
Me: His car and his watch? Really?
Tom Holland: He has the nicest car.
Jacob Batalon: Actually on set there's a Millennium Falcon that they built. I want that.
Tom Holland: The LEGO Millennium Falcon?
Me: You could buy that at Target, you know.
Jacob Batalon: It's all built up and all nice. I'm not gonna spend time on that!
Tom Holland: If I could take anything from set, I would probably take…
Jacob Batalon: I would take an assistant.
[Tom fell into Jacob's lap he was laughing so hard]
Jacob Batalon: I would take Marissa Tomei but she's not on set every day.
Tom Holland: I would probably take the suit home, but I couldn't put it on on my own, so it would kind of be pointless. I would probably take that. They have a foam mannequin of myself–which is really weird.
Jacob Batalon: What?
Tom Holland: Yeah. So I would probably try and take that and the suit and put it in a glass box somewhere.
It's been months since that interview, but I still laugh when I think about the last question I asked Tom and Jacob about what they would take from the Spider-Man Homecoming set. It stuck with me so much that I followed-up on it at the Spider-Man Homecoming press junket!
That post will be up in a few days, and I can't wait to share it with you!
Spider-Man Homecoming opens in theaters everywhere on July 7, 2017. Get your local showtimes and pre-order tickets today!
Don't miss the first Spider-Man Homecoming trailer!