When she and Marvel’s Kevin Feige announced that Tom Holland, the 19-year-old British star of “The Impossible” and PBS series “Wolf Hall” is the new Spider-Man, and horror-comedy writer-director Jon Watts would direct the untitled reboot, clearly, Marvel called the shots here.
Casting Holland, a fine young actor (“Billy Elliott: The Musical”) who earned raves in “The Impossible” as a young boy trying to survive a tsunami with his mother (Naomi Watts) is within the range of possibility for Sony. He has earned some acting bonafides and is a strapping, handsome young lad. Holland also stars in Ron Howard’s upcoming “In the Heart of the Sea,” and submitted to a series of challenging screen tests.
But there’s no way a major studio would have entrusted the “Spider-Man” franchise to little-known writer-director Watts (“Clown,” “The Onion News Network”) who landed the job on the basis of his Sundance 2015 thriller “Cop Car,” which while well-received, has yet to open (digital label Focus World is set to release) and is not a critical and box office breakout on the order of Marc Webb’s “(500) Days of Summer.”
Instead, Watts boasts a set of skills–like comic timing–that Feige is convinced he can bank on, as long as he’s at the tiller as producer. Feige has the confidence to know what he needs and how to get it. Studios rarely take those risks.
Thomas Stanley Holland was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. His mother is a photographer and his father is a comedian and author. Holland attended Donhead Prep School, Wimbledon College and the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology. He studied dance and made his West End debut in “Billy Elliot the Musical” as Michael, Billy’s best friend and went on to play Billy as well.