It’s official; we have a new Spider-Man.
Who is he? You sure you want to know?
His name is Tom Holland.
The 19-year-old is set to succeed Andrew Garfield as the comic book superhero and swing into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in multiple movies over the next several years.
So before he starts saving the world, it seems fitting that we get to know more about our new friendly neighbourhood vigilante.
He is British
Like his Spider-Man predecessor, Holland hails from good ole’ England. And unsurprisingly so; he joins a growing list of British actors who have portrayed comic book characters onscreen. These include Henry Cavill (Superman), Christian Bale (the former Batman), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki), just to name a few.
Holland was born in Kingston-upon-Thames in southwest London, and his paternal grandmother was born in Ireland.
He was Billy Elliot
No, he is not the Billy Elliot who danced his way into our hearts in the movie. That was Jamie Bell, who, as fate would have it, will also play a Marvel comic book superhero; Bell portrays the Thing in 2015’s Fantastic Four reboot.
Holland made his acting debut on West End, when he played the titular character’s best friend in Billy Elliot the Musical. Three months later, Holland began performing in the all-singing-and-dancing lead role of Billy Elliot himself.
And yes, Holland is a trained dancer; he started learning hip hop when he was 5. We wonder if that will help with his Spidey stunts.
Relatively new but quickly successful
Holland might have made his acting debut at the age of 12, but it was not until 2011 when the 15-year-old made the transition to film via a voice role in the UK dub of anime film Arietty.
Holland quickly snagged a high profile role the following year in the disaster drama The Impossible. He played the eldest son of Naomi Watts’ and Ewan McGregor’s characters as they find themselves in the midst of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
In 2015, Holland made his way across the Atlantic to Hollywood, starring in the American disaster film In the Heart of the Sea opposite big names like Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy.
And now, he has certainly cemented his impending fame among American audiences with his role as Spider-Man.
Mark Rylance, Jr. on TV
2015 was a very big year for Holland. Spider-Man casting and Hollywood debut aside, Holland also made his television debut in the BBC television series Wolf Hall. He plays the son of the main character, who is in turn played by revered English actor Mark Rylance.
Screen-testing with the Avengers
Holland’s journey to being cast as Spider-Man was certainly not a short and easy one. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Holland was screen-tested with future co-stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) and Chris Evans (Captain America), no doubt to assess his suitability to save the world alongside the Avengers.
Holland won the role over five other finalists; Asa Butterfield, Judah Lewis, Matthew Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Charlie Rowe.
Considering how much success Holland has had in such a short period of time (he did make his debut on the West End), we can only expect great things from the young actor in the near future. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.