Tom Holland discusses Peter Parker's teenage angst in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and his experiences of working closely with Hollywood heavyweights Jake Gyllenhaal and Samuel L. Jackson.
Young Hollywood star Tom Holland says it's unfair to expect Peter Parker to replace Iron Man, but is convinced Spider-Man: Far From Home will help ease the pain of grieving Marvel fans.
Holland's fifth outing as the web-shooting wall-crawler begins right after the mind-bending finish to Avengers: Endgame, in a world reeling from Thanos' cosmic rapture, and the selfless sacrifice of Robert Downey jnr's character Tony Stark.
The 23-year-old English actor understands fans, like his teenaged character, are still mourning the death of Spider-Man's mentor, but Holland wants them to trust the script-writing gods in charge of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"This movie really is a fantastic continuation of End Game, it's the perfect pick-me-up that the fans need," Holland says.
"I could never be the next Iron Man because Tony Stark, or Robert Downey jnr, he's the only Iron Man. He is like the G.O.A.T. But I'm just really honoured that people are allowing me to try and fill his shoes as best I can."
Holland wants the franchise's loyal followers to have faith, but admits even Parker is disillusioned and reluctant to move on so quickly without his saviour and super hero role-model.
The new film takes Parker out of his comfort zone and his home in Queens, New York, and sees him trying to escape his life as Spider-Man, as he jaunts across Europe together with friends on a school vacation.
Parker's burden might be heavier than the average teenager's angst, but Holland is excited by the personal growth he is forced to undergo to accept and embrace the responsibilities that come with wearing the Spider-Man suit.
"This film is all about Peter Parker trying to take a break. He hangs up the suit, he doesn't want to be Spider-Man any longer," he explains.
"He's a 16-year-old kid and wants to experience life as a normal teenager. But unfortunately being Spider-Man for him is a responsibility he just can't shake, so this film is all about him realising that with the loss of Iron Man, the world needs someone to step up.
"So he deals with grief in his own way and I think I deal with grief and loss in a similar way, where I keep myself busy and don't allow myself time to really think about it."
Under director Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Holland was thrilled Spider-Man: Far From Home allowed him to work together for the first time with one of his favourite actors, Tinseltown heavyweight Jake Gyllenhaal.
The star of Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac and Nightcrawler plays super hero Mysterio (aka Quentin Beck), whose arrival on Earth signals the opening of a multiverse, after he followed monstrous Elemental creatures through a dimensional rift torn as a result of the events in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Together Mysterio and Spider-Man join forces to fight to save the world once more, but fans remain suspicious of Gyllenhaal's character, due to his status as one of Spider-Man's chief enemies in Stan Lee's Marvel comic series.
"We're so lucky to have Jake. If you look at any interview I've ever given, if someone ever asked me 'who would you work with?' I'd always say Jake," Holland says.
"The fact that I get to work with him in this capacity in a film like this is no short of a dream come true.
"He really is a fantastic guy. He's wonderful to work with. He's so talented and, as a young actor, it's really nice to have someone like him in my life because it's quite a scary industry and can be quite daunting at times and it's quite lonely as well."
Holland also relished the chance to work closely with the relentless Samuel L. Jackson, who reprises his role as the eyepatch-wearing former S.H.I.E.L.D. head, Nick Fury. The unlikely pair also enjoyed a strong bond off-set, but Holland says friction between their two characters enabled him to explore new parts of Parker's personality.
"[Jackson's] electrifying. He's a wonderful guy to work with. We bonded over golf, but he's a much better golfer than me, which makes me angry.
"The relationship between Peter and Nick Fury is a little rocky. They're not friends and they butt heads quite a bit and it's interesting because Peter Parker gets along with everyone, and Nick Fury is the first person he doesn't get along with.
"So it was quite exciting for me to get to play this different side of Peter Parker."
Intrigue surrounds how the likes of Parker and Fury will settle back into the world after their five-year time-leap, but Holland, the self-confessed 'King of Spoilers', refused to give too much away.
"For the people that 'blipped', no time has passed . . . this is when my phone starts ringing," he joked.
"So Peter Parker, when he comes back to this universe, it's like he blinked and five years have gone by.
"It's a really interesting thing to try and deal with. And we had a lot of fun with Jon and the producers of Sony and Marvel trying to figure out how we were going to tackle that crazy concept."
Holland was also staying tight-lipped on what the multiverse will mean for the MCU but conceded it could allow the franchise and his beloved character to head in new creative directions – with or without him.
"I can't really talk about it because I will spoil the movie, which I do all the time. It's a really exciting possibility and hopefully in the future we can really explore some incredible stuff.
"I have my goals of where I'd like to take Peter Parker and eventually pass on the torch to someone else who will play this role. But there's definitely lots of room for him to grow in this universe and I'm really excited to explore the different ways that Marvel and Sony choose to go."