You probably know Tom Holland best from his incredible portrayal of Peter Parker in the latest Spider-Man movies. However, this young actor has been performing since he was just 8 years old and has had some life-changing experiences along the way.
Here are some interesting facts you might not have known about the baby-faced star.
20. He attended the famous Brit School
Tom Holland has spent the last few years playing a wide-eyed highschooler in the form of Peter Parker, and part of the reason that the character feels so believable is that Holland isn’t too far from his own school years. Not only that, but the two have had educations that are both incredibly similar and very different. While Parker’s school specialises in science and technology, Holland’s specialised in performance and technology.
The school he attended, The Brit School, is famous for its curriculum that focusses on dance, music and theatre, as well as being one of only three performing arts schools that is free to attend. It was literally created to be a real-life equivalent of the performing arts school seen in Fame, so it’s the perfect place for any budding actor or dancer wanting to improve their craft. With a mission like that, it’s not surprising that the school managed to turn out a star like Holland, and he’s also not the only talented celebrity to get their start there. Adele, Jessie J and even Amy Winehouse all studied there, which proves their skill as teachers beyond doubt.
19. He got his first acting role in Billy Elliot with no experience
Part of the reason Holland got the role of Spider-Man was his gymnastic ability, which he showcased by backflipping in and out of the frame of his audition video. However, the only reason he even had those skills in the first place, was because of his love of dance. As a kid, he religiously attended hip-hop and ballet lessons, which led to his dance teacher encouraging him to begin auditioning for West End roles.
He did, and eventually landed the part of Billy’s best friend, after upping his dance schedule when they thought he was too skinny to play the part. After two years of playing Micheal, Holland graduated to being an alternate for Billy, and eventually finally got to hit the stage as Billy himself. Along with that came his first round of press and TV appearances, and cemented showbusiness as what he wanted to do with his life.
18. He found out he was Spider-Man whilst browsing on Instagram
Auditioning for a role in a Marvel movie is not a short process. It takes several rounds of auditions, and what feels like endless amounts of callbacks, in order to finally confirm that you’re what they’re looking for. That’s especially true if you’re a smaller, less established star like Tom Holland, which led to a lot of waiting around on his end. After what he’d been told was his final meeting and callback, he was told he would receive the news of whether he’d got the part the next day.
The casting director was a little off, however, as six weeks later he was still waiting to hear whether he was Spider-Man or not. As for how he finally found out, he was scrolling through Instagram in bed, with his dog curled up next to him. The official Marvel account tweeted out an announcement of the casting, and he clicked the link to see his own face staring back at him.
17. He secretly attended the Bronx High School of Science
In an attempt to prepare for his role as Spiderman, Holland managed to go ‘undercover’ at the New York school where only the teachers and admin staff knew his real identity. During classes, Holland would entertain himself by trying to convince the other students that he was the new Spiderman. Their reaction was one of scepticism until a group of girls googled him and realised he was, in fact, telling the truth, cue the giggling and fangirling.
Before that though, they just thought he was weird, since he didn’t know any of the answers to what was being taught in school, and didn’t seem to know anything about science at all. He found himself in another tricky situation when the ID system realised the picture on the card he’d borrowed from his acting coach didn’t match his face. Luckily, the security staff were understanding once his true identity was revealed and promised to keep quiet.
16. He’s a talented gymnast
You might have already realised this given his incredibly agile performance as Spiderman, but Holland’s background is in dance and acrobatics. He started training as a dancer before his role in Billy Elliot and so had more than 10 years experience before he landed the life-changing part. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had to push himself to get better over the years, as each job he’s taken have broken the limits of what he was currently capable of.
He was told he needed to work out and bulk up to be in Billy Elliot, and Marvel also needed him to switch up his regime to fit the character. This meant working out non-stop, in order to make all of his muscles seem stronger and more well-defined. He also needed to work on his cardio and stamina, since Spider-Man is one of the most high-octane superheroes out there.
15. He’s broken his nose on set 3 times
During the filming of The Lost City of Z it seems Holland got a bit over-confident whilst doing a backflip and landed flat on his face, instantly rendering his nose unrecognisable. Ouch. This instantly crunched his nose into oblivion, and it wouldn’t be the only time he’d damage his nose on set. The second time was caused by an over-zealous stuntman on the set of Chaos Walking who punched him in the face.
Tom was of course, super gracious about it, but it meant that his already broken nose took a beating once again. Less than a year later, Holland took to Twitter to showcase his freshly purple nose, which he received during the filming of Avengers 4. His new suit had seriously impaired his peripheral vision, which meant that during in a coordinated fight scene, he took a hit to the face wrong and ended up being hit way harder than he was supposed to.
14. He’s the youngest ever Spiderman
Holland turned 19 shortly before the official announcement of his involvement in the movies making him the only Spiderman to have been a teen at the time of auditions and casting. His predecessor, Andrew Garfield, was actually 29 when he took on the mantle of Peter Parker, and actually just looked much younger. That’s not the only record he’s broken either. Having been in four Marvel movies as Spider-Man to Garfield’s two and Tobey Maguire’s three – he’s played Spider-Man on screen the most times of anybody.
Also, given that his contract is nowhere near up and Holland seems to be having the time of his life, he’ll probably have beaten that record by a lot more come the end. The last record he’s broken is actually the most surprising, since he’s the first British actor to ever play the Queens superhero. Andrew Garfield might speak with a British accent and live in England for the most part, but he was actually born in the US and is an American citizen, which is why Holland takes the spot.
13. He has a close relationship with his family
In fact, with his first Spiderman pay check, Holland bought the flat his mum had picked out for him. It turns out the stylish apartment is located just around the corner from his family home. He lived in his family home previously with his parents and 3 brothers, and has remained super close with them ever since, considering them the foundation of his mental health.
In particular, his status as the oldest brother is what has inspired him to always be kind and caring, as well as humble. He has since set up a charity with his siblings called The Brothers Trust which aims to raise money for various charitable causes. Holland has spoken publicly about how grateful he is for his comedian father who never allowed his Spiderman fame to get to his head.
12. He’s dating Spiderman co-star Zendaya
Hotshot acting pair Tom Holland and Zendaya allegedly grew close on the Spiderman set with Holland taking to Twitter to defend Zendaya from angry trolls or numerous occasions. Zendaya received criticism when rumours emerged that she was set to play MJ in the 2017 movie, with Twitter critiques claiming that the role should be played by a white person.
Holland leapt to her defence in a subsequent interview, saying “our generation of people are moving on past this whole idea you can’t cast someone who is not of the right race of a character and stuff.” He went on to say “I really think we’re breaking through and changing all of that”, and that he thought Zendaya was perfect for the role. The pair were rumoured to be romantically involved for several years before this came true in 2021.
11. He aspires to be a movie director
Tom Holland might be pretty early on in his acting career relatively speaking, but he’s already got the trajectory of his life and work pretty well thought-out. Though he loves acting and isn’t going to hang up his lycra Spidey suit any time soon, he does have his eye on a slightly different job in the industry. When asked about his long-term career goals, Holland stated that his plans were to do ‘some more franchises’, play some ‘meatier’ indie roles and eventually transition towards working behind the camera and directing films.
He went on to say that part of being a good actor was trying to truly understand the industry and he felt that directing would help him achieve this. In fact, Holland has already made his directing debut in the form of his short-film Tweet, starring his younger twin brothers and his parents. It probably won’t be long before we see him take on bigger and bigger projects which, if he’s as good a director as he is an actor, would be awesome to see.
10. He’s terrible with spoilers
Aside from Bruce Banner/Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo, the actor most famed in the MCU for spoiling crucial things is undoubtedly Tom Holland. Everyone, from Robert Downey Jr. to Benedict Cumberbatch, have called him out in interviews for saying things he’s not supposed to, over and over again. First he accidentally spoiled a big plot point in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and then he mentioned knowing spoilers for both the upcoming Avengers titles.
After that, Marvel had to resort to desperate measures, giving Holland fake scripts and even telling other cast members to share as little as possible with him. He’s gotten a little better recently, constantly joking in interviews that he’s going to say as little as possible and then doing his best to keep that promise. However, he did recently almost spoil an artist involved with the Black Panther soundtrack, which is a movie he isn’t even in.
9. His parents are stars too
It might seem miraculous that Tom Holland knew what he wanted to do from such a young age, and that he’s been creative for his whole life. When you look at his family history though, the whole picture starts to make a little bit more sense. Not only is his mother an award-winning photographer, which is a prestigious and creative career all by itself, but his father is Dominic Holland.
Dominic Holland is a pretty famous British comedian, who also makes his living as a broadcaster and an author. His dad has published three novels as well as memoirs based on his real life, and even has his own radio series, The Small World Of Dominic Holland. Not a bad roster of work to look up to as a kid, and it no doubt inspired Tom to be as funny and determined as his dad.
8. He had an adorable problem with his co-star
Maybe the best thing about working as a part of the MCU is all the other talented actors you get to work alongside. Whether it’s a huge team-up movie like The Avengers or just a solo movie, moving forward there’s a big chance stars will be thrown in with someone from an entirely different series. That’s what happened with Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, too actors who liked and respected each other immensley from the get-go.
However, just because the two actors had a lot of fun working together, doesn’t mean they were the most efficient at getting things done. Tom Holland actually got a message from the director saying that he needed to focus up, because he kept laughing between and even during takes. Turns out, he found Chris Pratt so funny that he was struggling to stay in character during scenes that they had together.
7. His Spider-Man competition is pretty steep
The process for Holland becoming Spider-Man was a long one, with a competition video audition turning into rounds and rounds of narrowing down. While that was happening, other big names in Hollywood were reaching out to inquire about the role. Obviously many just weren’t what Marvel were looking for right off the bat, but others made it further through the process.
Timothee Chalamet, Charlie Plummer, Judah Lewis, Matt Lintz and Charlie Rowe were all actors at one point considered for the role. However, later auditions were enough to convince the Marvel team that Holland was the perfect person for the part. Since he was cast, both critics and fans have welcomed him with open arms, proving that Marvel definitely made the right decision.
6. He’s a little bit psychic
Spider-Man might have been Tom Holland’s breakout role, but it was far from the only role he’s ever played. This meant that even before he was going on press tours with Marvel, he’d done his fair share of interviews. In one landmark interview in 2013 for How I Live Now, Holland was asked what his dream part would be, and how he sees his career panning out.
It’s a pretty standard interview question, but his answer turned out to be eerily prescient. When asked if he’d ever like to play a superhero, he answered: “Maybe Spider-Man, in ten years time…The reboot of the reboot.” Not even five years later, that dream came true for him, and he’s never looked back since. Guess we’d better pay attention to his next predictions!
5. His dad is playfully jealous
It can be hard being a normal parent who suddenly has a celebrity son, as it’s a pretty big adjustment to have to make. However, Tom Holland’s dad was already used to the spotlight, so you’d think he’d have dealt with it pretty easily. In actual fact, he dealt with it by doing what any well-adjusted comedian would do, and started blogging about it.
Not only that, but the blog was about how hilarious it was having a son who was way younger than him, but also way more famous. Despite this slightly petty sounding project, it turned out to be a bonding experience for both of them, and something they could joke about. His dad has never been anything but supportive of his career, and has shown up to every premiere loyally.
4. His MCU mentor isn’t who you’d expect
Spider-Man has worked with a lot of other superheroes during his short time as one of the Avengers, teaming up in all sorts of scenarios. However, there’s no denying that Peter Parker’s hero and mentor, above all others, is Iron Man. Tom Holland has said numerous times that he’s adored acting opposite Robert Downey Jr, but his true mentor is actually Chris Hemsworth.
This is due to the two working together on In The Heart Of The Sea, before Holland was even cast as Spider-Man. During this time, Hemsworth was so impressed with Holland that he even put in a good word with Marvel for Holland to be cast as Spider-Man. Not only that, but he gave Holland the piece of acting advice he’s taken most to heart: be nice to everyone, because you never know who your niceness (or not) will get back to in the industry.
3. He’s had to pass on some cool roles
Spider-Man is the kind of dream role that any young actor would be honoured to get to play, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t sacrifices involved in saying yes. The MCU is a big commitment and means saying no to a lot of other awesome parts that clash with the intense shooting schedule. For example, Tom Holland was first offered the role of Seaplane McDonough in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
He even signed on, but then it became obvious that the shooting schedules would clash, and so Nick Jonas had to take over in the role. Not only that, but he was offered a part in Bad Times at the El Royale, one he had to pass on when it became obvious he wouldn’t be available to play the part. Never the less, it’s a sure thing that he’ll have great roles waiting for him when he does eventually step away from the world of Spider-Man.
2. He met the Prime Minister
Playing Billy Elliot had a lot of benefits for Tom Holland, not least giving him the gymnastic skills he’d need to play Spider-Man. It was also his first brush with serious fame, opening him up to interviews, as well as reviews in the newspapers. Another unexpected perk was something many people would disagree about even being a perk, which is meeting the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister at the time was Gordon Brown, and was introduced to the cast as part of an anniversary event. As well as a few hilariously dated photographs being taken, the visit was mostly being taken around 10 Downing Street. Holland tends not to mention the event in interviews, so it’s fair to say the Prime Minister didn’t make much of an impression on him.
1. He hosted movie night for his MCU co-stars
Even within the MCU, the Spider-Man films have their own distinct feel, which sets them apart with their youthful and joyous atmosphere. This is deliberate, as the director was primarily inspired by teen and coming-of-age movies of the 1980s. In particular, both Homecoming and Far From Home drew from John Hughes movies, like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
In order to get the cast up to speed on what he was going for, he ordered all of them to watch all of the movies religiously. In order to turn the homework into something more fun, Holland invited the cast over to his own house to watch the movies. They even made popcorn, and Holland said it was nice to get some bonding time in as the newest Avenger.