A while back, Tom Holland’s first time screen testing opposite Chris Evans for Captain America: Civil War made the rounds. More recently, a new video of Holland’s self-taped auditions, in-person auditions and his screen tests with Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. has hit the internet and it’s…perfect. Honestly, it’s perfect.
Even with the videos being somewhat fuzzy quality and Tom not being in costume or having the Peter Parker hair, it’s easy to see why he got the role. As producer Amy Pascal notes in the video, they met with over 200 boys for the role. In a 2017 interview, Pascal revealed Holland was a frontrunner from the start. Fans might forget that even with that boost, however, it was a closely-contested fight between the actors on Sony and Marvel’s final five shortlist, which included Holland, Nat Wolff, Asa Butterfield, Timothée Chalamet and Liam James. But though each of those actors is extremely talented and have gone on to do quite well for themselves, especially Chalamet, Pascal said in that same 2017 interview that Holland just had a certain je ne sais quoi that made him stand out from the rest. His screen tests with Evans and Downey, Jr. on the final weekend of decision-making were what ultimately sealed the deal:
“I think when we saw Tom and it was unanimous from everybody that he had it, and everything fell into place. There was a – believe me, what we put the poor boy through – Hell. And a lot of other boys, too, who were also good. But once you saw that thing on film, just… everybody knew it. And you know, that’s the magic.”
Also noted in the video above is the fact that Holland was able to hold his own while sharing a scene with Evans and RDJ, which must have been terrifying considering they were childhood heroes of Holland’s. It sums up exactly what it is that makes Holland so special as an actor. Even from the time he was a child actor, he had a certain kind of charisma that enabled him to stay even with the veteran actors around him, if not draw attention away from them. Every time he’s on screen, you just root for him; there is an earnestness and an openness to his performances that draw you in. It’s why he’s the perfect Spider-Man.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role now, but there was a time it might have been someone else, like Butterfield or Chalamet. But for all the things Marvel does well (and, in this case, Sony), it doesn’t get enough credit for how smart and savvy it is with casting. They clearly knew what they were doing when they chose Holland out of the group. How lucky are we that they did?