What Tom Holland learned from Robert Downey Jr.: “He’s early every day”

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ stars Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon are in town to promote the upcoming Marvel Studios blockbuster

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon with a whole gang of Spider-Men (plus Iron Man)
Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon with a whole gang of Spider-Men (plus Iron Man)
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon with a whole gang of Spider-Men (plus Iron Man)

Photos: Tammi Tan, Sony Pictures Singapore
Video: Vina Chia

“It’s like we flew into a better planet!” is how Tom Holland described Singapore, which he is visiting for the first time to promote Spider-Man: Homecoming with co-star Jacob Batalon.

The two young actors, who play the titular web-slinging superhero Peter Parker and his best friend Ned Leeds in the Marvel Studios blockbuster respectively, met reporters and a small group of fans at a closed-door red carpet event before holding a press conference at the ArtScience Museum last night.

It hasn’t been all work and no play for them, of course. That morning, they got to enjoy a round of golf - during which Tom, 21, regretfully wore black skinny jeans in the humid heat - and a dip in Marina Bay Sands’ Infinity Pool. They also graciously took the time to hang out with admirers who were waiting for them at the hotel lobby.

“The fans have been so lovely and supportive and they’re really excited for us,” Tom told Toggle in a brief doorstep interview at the red carpet, when we asked how he and Jacob are dealing with all this massive attention. “And we’re just like the fans because I’m just as excited to see the movie as they are, so I’m really happy.”

20-year-old Jacob, who is making his studio feature debut with this film, admitted to us that he loves the spotlight. “I’ll be honest - I do enjoy the attention! It’s great because the fans are so sweet so it’s amazing to do this for them,” he said.

Spider-Man: Homecoming follows up with the events in Peter Parker’s life after his participation in the epic airport battle in Captain America: Civil War (how does one simply return to a normal life after something like that!?). It also stars Michael Keaton as villain Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. Vulture), Marisa Tomei as Peter’s Aunt May, and Robert Downey Jr. back in his iconic role as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

Read on for more photos and to find out what Tom and Jacob shared at the press conference:

Tom found out that he got the role… on Instagram
Tom found out that he got the role… on Instagram
08 Jun 2017

Tom found out that he got the role… on Instagram

After a lengthy, rollercoaster ride of screen tests, auditions and waiting (during which Tom would anxiously “search the internet every five minutes trying to find any piece of news”), the Brit was just relaxing in bed with his pet pooch one day, scrolling through Instagram, when he saw the announcement: “Tom Holland is the new Spider-Man.”

“I went absolutely nuts and ran downstairs to tell my family; my brother was like, ‘Wow dude, they’ve probably been hacked!’” Tom recalled with a laugh. He eventually got a call from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about the good news, to which he responded, “I know, Kevin, you put it on Instagram.”

Playing Spider-Man is stressful, but Tom loves the pressure
Playing Spider-Man is stressful, but Tom loves the pressure
08 Jun 2017

Playing Spider-Man is stressful, but Tom loves the pressure

Taking over the reins - and tights - from previous Spidey stars Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield was undoubtedly a daunting task for Tom, who explained that he didn’t want theatregoers “to buy tickets to a movie they’ve already seen”.

“It was important to me to make this character different from the previous two versions, so what we’ve done is to ground him in reality and make him a lot younger,” he said. “We’ve seen the god (Thor), billionaire (Tony Stark) and scientist (Bruce Banner), now it’s time to see what would happen if you gave a 15-year-old kid superpowers.”

But the stress did far from weigh him down - in fact, it helped to propel him forward. “I love pressure. I find it a really good motivator to work hard.”

Jacob couldn’t bear to leave after he was done
Jacob couldn’t bear to leave after he was done
08 Jun 2017

Jacob couldn’t bear to leave after he was done

While Jacob wrapped shooting much earlier than Tom, he couldn’t bring himself to go home. “He moved in with me for six weeks and came to set every day to just hang out,” Tom revealed. “Marvel was like, ‘You do know you’re not getting paid for this…’ to him. (laughs)”

Not that it mattered to the Filipino-American actor: he was living the dream and simply didn’t want to wake up from it. Plus, who would turn down the chance to chill with the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton? And speaking of RDJ…

What did Tom learn from observing Robert Downey Jr.?
What did Tom learn from observing Robert Downey Jr.?
08 Jun 2017

What did Tom learn from observing Robert Downey Jr.?

When asked what advice he got from Robert, Tom shared that the Hollywood A-lister left an impact on him not with his words, but through his actions.

“I consider Robert to be at the top of his game, and if I’m ever lucky enough to get there, then I should act as he does: he’s 10 minutes early every day, he says hello to every crew member, he’s kind, polite, hardworking, respectful, and just one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people,” Tom gushed.

“He showed me that no matter how famous you get or how much money you make, you should always be respectful to everyone, and you’ll prosper and succeed. He’s a really good role model for me as a young man in this industry where everyone goes crazy!”

Awww, are we the only ones who fell just a little bit more in love with RDJ after learning this?

Photos: Robert Downey Jr./Instagram, TPG/CLICKPHOTOS

Kevin Feige teases more about the plot and villain
Kevin Feige teases more about the plot and villain
08 Jun 2017

Kevin Feige teases more about the plot and villain

Although unable to join the events in person, Kevin woke up extra early to “meet” the media at the press conference via a video call all the way from Los Angeles, where he shared a little bit more info about Spider-Man: Homecoming.

He repeated Tom’s earlier comparisons of Peter Parker to the other Avengers, “What if you weren’t a super soldier (Captain America) or a master of the mystic arts (Doctor Strange) - just a kid going to school? That was the starting point of the movie.”

Because of this, filmmakers thought that the main baddie should be similar. “Instead of being some scientific accident, we wanted the villain to be a normal person just like Peter,” said Kevin. “It’s a nice parallel seeing how Peter Parker and Adrian Toomes respond differently to these unbelievably extraordinary events happening to them.”

Kevin went on to reveal that Spider-Man: Homecoming will be about Peter “realising that he’s a hero, with or without all the gadgets Tony Stark can give him”.

“Unlike Iron Man, who is very smart but not a superhero when he’s out of the suit, Spider-Man is still Spider-Man without his outfit, and that’s something that he faces over the course of the movie,” he said.

Spider-Man: Homecoming opens in cinemas on July 6.

Tom Holland poses for photos on the red carpet
Tom Holland poses for photos on the red carpet
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland poses for photos on the red carpet


Tom Holland speaks to reporters on the red carpet
Tom Holland speaks to reporters on the red carpet
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland speaks to reporters on the red carpet

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon take a wefie on the red carpet
Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon take a wefie on the red carpet
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon take a wefie on the red carpet

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon share a laugh on the red carpet
Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon share a laugh on the red carpet
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon share a laugh on the red carpet

Tom Holland speaks to reporters on the red carpet
Tom Holland speaks to reporters on the red carpet
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland speaks to reporters on the red carpet

Tom Holland takes a wefie with a whole group of Spider-Men
Tom Holland takes a wefie with a whole group of Spider-Men
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland takes a wefie with a whole group of Spider-Men

Tom Holland meets a tiny Spider-Man fan
Tom Holland meets a tiny Spider-Man fan
08 Jun 2017

Tom Holland meets a tiny Spider-Man fan

Fans dressed as Spider-Man walk down the red carpet
Fans dressed as Spider-Man walk down the red carpet
08 Jun 2017

Fans dressed as Spider-Man walk down the red carpet

Watch:
Tom Holland vs Jacob Batalon: Who loves the spotlight more?

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