We all know Tom Holland now, but do you know how he rose to fame? From tap-dancing to lending his voice to a Japanese animation, he’s had a very impressive career at the tender age of 21 and much more is expected of the English star.
What exactly was he doing before his Spider-Man days? We investigated to find out.
Billy Elliot (2008 – 2010)
Believe it or not, Tom Holland’s acting career all started in a hip-hop class in Wimbledon. His potential was discovered while dancing for his school at the 2006 Richmond Dance Festival.
He clearly impressed, as he was invited for an audition to join the cast of Elton John’s Billy Elliot. While he initially played the role of Michael (Billy’s best friend) he later went on to take the starring role. The success of the Billy Elliot show led to Tom and the other cast members being invited for interviews on the likes of ITV and Five.
In 2010, Tom Holland and a few other actors were even invited to meet Gordon Brown (the Prime Minster at the time) to celebrate the show’s fifth-anniversary. Tom Holland must have got the taste for fame, as he soon went on to do even greater things.
Unless you’re a big Studio Ghibli fan, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of this film. The first major role for Tom Holland in cinema was a voice acting credit for the English dub of the Japanese animation Arrietty.
The film is from the same studio that gave us the likes of Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro – all excellent films, but perhaps a surprisingly place for Tom to make his cinema debut. He lent his voice to the lead character of Sho, an inquisitive young boy.
Remarkably, as seen in the video clip, young Tom Holland looks almost identical to Sho. But we’re sure it wasn’t just his uncanny looks that got Tom the job.
The Impossible (2012)
There’s no doubting the importance of Arrietty and Billy Elliot in Tom's rise to fame, but his major breakthrough didn’t come until 2012 when he starred in The Impossible alongside Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. H
e was only 16 years old at the time, and to appear in such a serious and emotional drama (based on the Boxing Day tsunami disaster of 2004) yet still provide such a strong appearance was seriously impressive. In fact, critics seemed to heap praise on Tom more than any of the other members of the cast, which is quite the achievement considering the star-studded actors involved.
Following the film, Tom won many awards including Young British Performer of the Year from the London Film Critics Circle Awards, as well as the Empire Award for Best Newcomer.
In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
After The Impossible, Tom became a hot property. Suddenly he was one of the most sought after young actors in England. He joined the cast of many films including How I Live Now, Locke and the television series Wolf Hall.
One of his most prominent roles came in Ron Howard's maritime adventure, based on the real-life events that inspired classic novel Moby Dick. Tom was not one of the leading actors, with Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker and Cillian Murphy taking up the spotlight. So why was this such a significant film for Tom?
Well, the budget was $100 million and so it was the biggest film Tom had appeared in up to that point. Unfortunately, the film sank at the box office, but few could deny Tom's impressive performance. He proved that he could act in both serious dramas and big-budget blockbusters and that clearly caught someone’s attention...
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
In 2015, Tom Holland was casually browsing through Instagram when he found a post from Marvel declaring that he had been cast as Spider-Man – quite an unusual way to find out! He later received a phone call from Marvel boss Kevin Feige to confirm the success of his audition.
Of course, this followed an arduous five month audition process – no-one becomes Spider-Man overnight. At first, Tom Holland’s casting as the wall-crawler was met with a mixed response from fans, mainly because he was somewhat of an unknown figure, but all doubts were put to rest when he finally appeared in Captain America: Civil War in 2016.
His scene-stealing appearance in the Marvel film was arguably one of the film’s best components. He then went on to win the Rising Star Award at the BAFTAs joining a prestigious list of actors to win the accolade including James McAvoy, Tom Hardy and Eva Green.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
You may think that Spider-Man: Homecoming will be no big deal for Tom having already appeared in big-budget blockbusters beforehand. But when you consider that Homecoming will his first solo lead role then you realise how quickly Tom has climbed the Hollywood ladder.
In fact, he only just turned 21 this year. His rise has been meteoric, and he will no doubt be nervous, but there’s no denying that he deserves the role of Spider-Man. And seeing that Marvel have yet to make a blunder with their casting, we can only expect that Tom will give a super performance.
Tom is currently signed on to appear in four more Marvel films, which will include Avengers: Infinity War. He was also recently cast as young Nathan Drake in the Uncharted film that’s based off the popular video game series. He’s also set to star alongside Daisy Ridley in the upcoming Chaos Walking.
There’s surely going to many more projects for Tom in the future too seeing how talented and young he is. Given his success so far, we wouldn’t even rule out an Oscar further down the line. One thing is clear at least: the sky is the limit for our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
Click here to book your tickets for Spider-Man: Homecoming, opening on 5th July.
Ryan Jones is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.