‘Spider-Man’ Star Tom Holland Uses ‘Physicality’ to ‘Distinguish’ His Characters

Marvel Cinematic Universe star Tom Holland is best known for portraying Spider-Man in several standalone and mash-up Marvel installments. He first appeared in Captain America: Civil Warwhen Iron Man affectionately introduced him to fellow Avengers as “Underoos.” He has since gone on to play Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. He is also slated to appear in a third Spidey installment later this year. 

Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man star
Tom Holland attends the ‘Onward’ UK Premiere | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Though Holland may be intimately attached to the web-slinger in fans’ eyes, he boasts quite a diverse portfolio. He danced through the night in Billy Elliot and starred opposite Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor in the 2012 dramatic thriller The Impossible. He also plays the lead character in the upcoming film Cherry, which will premiere in theaters on February 26, and debuts globally on Apple TV+ March 12. Holland had to go through quite the physical transformation to play the emotionally tormented ex-Army medic who has PTSD. 

During an interview with the LATimes, Holland discussed the role and the physical transformation he had to endure, noting how such bodily changes help him channel his diverse characters.

Tom Holland on ‘distinguishing between the characters that [he] play[s]’

Holland told the LaTimes why physicality plays heavily into his character transformations. He shared:

“Physicality for me is the biggest way I try to distinguish between the characters that I play….If you look at Peter Parker, he’s very bubbly, and I do this thing where I leave my arms really loose. It gives him this juvenile, kid-like physicality. With Cherry, cracking his physicality was the biggest part of making this character come to life. That meant losing the weight, physically changing the way I looked — from hair and makeup to the wigs I was wearing to the costumes I was wearing. It was a really useful tool for me to be able to step out of one version of Cherry and into another…”

RELATED: ‘Cherry’: Russo Brothers Reveal Why They Chose Tom Holland for This Dark Role

When speaking about Cherry, Holland discussed “versions,” likely commenting on the fact that the film follows a fifteen-year trajectory. The film traces the character from adolescent naivete to a jaded ex-Army medic who resorts to robbing banks to pay his drug debts. 

Joe Russo has explained that the film is split into “six chapters,” with each boasting unique tones and production designs that cater to the character’s current life stage and emotional well-being. 

Cherry co-director Anthony Russo praised Tom Holland’s ‘physicality’  

Director Anthony Russo explained to the LATimes what Tom Holland was able to bring to the lead character in Cherry. He shared: 

He’s a physically gifted person who can do things with his body that the vast majority of people can’t, and he certainly brought that aspect of himself to this performance…He went from portraying a soldier at his most vibrant and strong to a wasted addict. His level of commitment of telling that story was supreme.”

With all this praise shooting around pre-release, here’s to hoping Tom Holland’s role in Cherry turns out to be the tour de force performances that critics and fans are expecting.