Actor Tom Holland had to go through a very rigorous audition process to finally land the role of Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War and, subsequently, Spider-Man: Homecoming, but getting the part was just the beginning. After Holland was cast, he had to start intensive training for the film’s stunts, and research for playing a believable Queens high school student. There was just one problem—Holland had never been to a public school in his life, and his only experience was attending an all-boys private school.
When I was visiting the Atlanta set of Spider-Man: Homecoming last year along with a group of reporters, Holland explained to us how director Jon Watts and Marvel actually enrolled Holland at a school in New York City undercover so he could experience what it’s really like to be a teenager like Peter Parker:
“It’s funny, Marvel actually sent me to a school in the Bronx where I had a fake name and I put on an accent, and I went for like three days. I basically had to go to this science school and blend in with all the kids, and some of the teachers didn’t even know. It was a science school, and I am in no way a science student (laughter). Some of the teachers would call me up in front of the class and try to get me to do science equations and stuff—it was so embarrassing. But it was actually really informative because schools in London are so different. I would go to school every day in a suit and tie, with just boys. To be in a school where you can be free and let loose, and be with girls, it was so different. Like so different. But yeah, it was a really great experience.”
Holland went to this school after Civil War had come out, and even asked some of his new classmates what they thought about the new Spider-Man:
“Nobody knew. I actually have videos on my phone of me interviewing people, and asking them what they thought of the new Spider-Man in Civil War. They were like, ‘Oh he’s great, I love him,’ and then some people were like, ‘Nah, I don’t love him, he’s not great’—and I was standing right in front of them! (laughter) But yeah, no, it was fun. It was really fun.”