NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Holland dug into his musical theater roots, and his acrobatic skills, to land the role of the next Spider-Man.
The 19-year-old played Billy Elliott on London's West End so when he was preparing an audition tape, he put his physical abilities to good use.
"I basically did a somersault into frame and a somersault out of frame and I was like, 'They may never see this but if they do I need them to know that I've got some gymnastics abilities and stuff,'" the actor said during a recent interview. "And every tape I sent in I always did a little acrobatic demo to try and convince them to give me the role," he said, laughing.
Holland spoke about the breakout role while promoting "In the Heart of the Sea," opening Dec. 11, a Ron Howard sea survival film based on a non-fiction book of the same name. Holland plays a young cabin boy on a whaling ship in the 1800's that is hit by a bull sperm whale which splits the boat in half. The crew is then shipwrecked at sea for 90 days where they must resort to cannibalism to survive.
Holland's character is put through the ringer and spends much of the movie wet and covered in oil.
"I always like a challenge and I almost feel like if something's not a challenge there's no real point in doing it," he said. "The hard work we had to do was for the right reasons and pivotal for the film because we were making a film about real people."
Landing the role as one of Marvel's marquee superheros was the realization of a dream for the young actor, who was asked by an interviewer years ago which super hero he would want to play if he got the chance.
"I of course said Spider-Man. I said I would like to do the reboot after Andrew Garfield. I don't think Andrew Garfield had even made his second film yet. I always wanted to play this character and when I found out that they were re-casting the role I rang up my agent and I said, 'Just get me a self- tape. Please let me send something so that they can see me.'"
Holland makes his debut as Peter Parker and his alter ego Spider-Man in the next "Captain America" movie, out next year. He will then lead his own "Spider-Man" film.
Fans will have to wait to get a glimpse of Holland as the web slinger — Spider-Man isn't shown in a "Captain America: Civil War" trailer released Tuesday, and a script for the stand-alone film is being finalized.
He said director Jon Watts is purposely not sharing details with him "because he wants to only tell me ideas that they're gonna use. I just really can't wait to get to work."
Until then he plans to keep busy at home in the United Kingdom.
"The next six months of my year are pretty free. My mom and I are sort of debating of whether I'm going to build a saw and timber house at the end of my garden. My mom's side of the family are carpenters so they've leaked some of their skills onto me," he said.