Tom Holland: Swinging into the Spotlight
－K. M. Wright
British actor Tom Holland has swung into the spotlight for his portrayal of a teenage Spider-Man. While many people know 23-year-old Holland only for this role, there’s so much more to the up-and-coming star.
With a father who is a comedian and author, and a mother who is a photographer, Holland was bound to be drawn to the arts, which was first evidenced by his taking dance lessons as a child. Despite being bullied for dancing, he never gave up on his passion, later saying, “You couldn’t hit me hard enough to stop me from doing it.” His perseverance paid off because at just 10 years old, he was discovered by a choreographer for Billy Elliot the Musical. After intense training in dance and gymnastics, he took the lead in the show.
Holland’s first film came in 2012 when he starred in The Impossible, a movie about a family caught in Thailand’s 2004 tsunami. His moving performance as a brave but terrified young boy won him praise and several awards, including the National Board of Review Award for Breakthrough Performance. Following this impressive start, Holland went on to act in a variety of films until he got his big break—being chosen to play Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Landing the role of Spider-Man was a dream come true for Holland, who was so obsessed with the superhero that he ran around in at least 30 different Spider-Man suits during his childhood. It wasn’t just his love of the character that won him the part, though. The young actor says he can relate to Peter Parker because neither of them was ever “the cool kid at school.” On top of that, the acrobatic skills he continues to develop allow him to execute some of his own stunts.
Holland was widely applauded for his energetic performance in Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017, even receiving a BAFTA Rising Star Award. His success launched him into stardom, but he’s made sure not to let it go to his head because he knows that “the terrible thing about being famous is you start to believe it.” This self-awareness, along with reminders from his dad, has helped him stay grounded.
This month, Holland is back again in Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which the teenage superhero faces off against villains during a school trip to Europe. With several other movies lined up for the promising young actor, our Spidey sense tells us that this is just the start of a brilliant career.