Marvel and Sony have found their Peter Parker.
“The Impossible” actor Tom Holland is set to play the web-slinging superhero in the next “Spider-Man” franchise. Jon Watts (“Cop Car”) will direct the film.
“I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent,” Tom Rothman, Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group chairman, said in a press release. “For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special. All in all, we are off to a roaring start.”
The actor is first expected to make an appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” in order to properly introduce him into the Marvel film universe, with standalone films to follow on July 28, 2017.
Sony announced a new partnership with Marvel Studios in February that would bring the popular superhero into the Marvel universe.
Former Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal is producing along with Kevin Feige.
The search for who would star in and direct the next installment in the “Spider-Man” series has been a long and interesting one. This was a rare case where execs met with actors and directors at the same time to see who fit the bill.
Rumors had been spreading for months about what direction the new franchise would be taking and whether the studio would cast an unknown actor as its star or find a more established name. They were also deciding whether to hire a young teen or someone a little older who could still pull off being a teen for the next several years.
Feige made it clear that he wanted Peter Parker to become his alter ego while he was still in high school. Sony and Marvel were therefore initially targeting actors between the ages of 14-18.
After underwhelming meetings with unknowns, the search was widened to boys who had somewhat of a proven track record, even at a young age. Asa Butterfield, Charlie Rowe and Matthew Lintz were among the contenders. The studio has been flying them out to Atlanta, where Marvel is filming “Captain America: Civil War,” over the last month to have them test with the actors they would be starring opposite.
Spider-Man is only expected to have a cameo in “Captain America: Civil War,” so there wasn’t a rush to make a decision since the thesp would only be shooting for about a week.
At the same time, meetings were also held with directors that included “St. Vincent” helmer Ted Melfi, “Warm Bodies‘” Jonathan Levine, “Vacation’s” John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. Not only were these filmmakers who directed films on the comedic side, they were also helmers who directing younger actors with positive results.
Over the last two weeks, the decision was made to cut the list down to Watts and Melfi for director, and Holland and Rowe for the role of Spider-Man. Sources did not reveal the exact reason why Sony and Marvel chose Holland and Watts in the last 24 hours.
Holland was an established name who not only held his own alongside Ewan McGreggor and Naomi Watts in “The Impossible,” but became the film’s breakout star. He’s also at an age that allows him to play the role of a teenager for years to come. Insiders said that at the end of the day, the studio could not afford to run into problems revolving around child labor laws that restrict the lengths of shoots.
As for Watts, while he wasn’t quite as well known as the other directors, his recent work on the film “Cop Car” earned him rave reviews at Sundance. The movie also showed his ability to get the most out of teenage actors.