Spider-Man: Homecoming is going to be one of the biggest movies of the year. So you can imagine how excited I was when I was told I would visit the actual set of one of my favorite franchises.
The set visit took place at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Georgia. Normally, visits to movie sets come with an embargo, where you are not allowed to write about your experience on set until a much later date. However, Marvel Studios gave us the okay to let you know all that you can expect from this latest installment of the franchise. So, here 14 things I learned at the Spider-Man: Homecoming set visit.
1. Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr.‘s onscreen chemistry was so good that the creators of Spider-Man: Homecoming added more scenes of Peter Parker’s and Tony Starks relationship. Director Jon Watts explains that when he was on set of Civil War the script was still in development but, “their relationship is so great in Civil War you kind of feel like you have to keep exploring that.”
2. This version of Spider-Man isn’t going to be so “bleached.” The creators felt like the cast should be more diverse and look more like America and New York. Jon Watts explains, “The very first thing I made was a look book of what I wanted the world to look like, what I wanted the kids to look like, and what the high school should look like. I lived in New York for 13 years, and it should just look like a school in New York. It shouldn’t look like a school in the Midwest in the 50s.” Producer Amy Pascal also says making the cast more diverse was high on their list of things to do. She explained, “I don’t want to sound like we were trying to be politically correct, but it was really important. Because it’s the world that we live in, we don’t live in that other world anymore. We needed to catch up with the way the world really is and the people that go to the movies want to see themselves. It took too long but we did it.”
3. They did color blind casting and just looked for the best kid for the part regardless of their race. Watts explained, “When you’re developing the story and the script while you’re casting, you can keep an open mind to just sort of look for the best kids.”
4. Peter Parker was always going to be white as Tom Holland was assigned before director Jon Watts signed on.
5. That’s how they got Zendaya, for the role of Michelle. Producer Amy Pascal explained that when they, “looked at her screen test we didn’t even know who she was. I’ll admit she was the most gorgeous thing I’ve every seen and we were looking at it and she was so fine she was so smart and savvy and poised and she had no makeup on. We looked at it and were like she’s the one. Then they said she’s super famous.”
6. Tom and the rest of the kids binge-watched teen coming-of-age movies in preparation for their roles. Jon Watts made them watch movies like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty In Pink, Freaks and Geeks and more.
7. There are no plans on this Spider-Man to fight the Green Goblin.
8. The entire movie is grounded in real life and takes place mostly under ten stories high. Everything from the superhero to the villain is what they called grounded. Jon likes the idea of a guy being a villain and a regular guy. The Vulture played by Michael Keaton has that characteristic. He’s rooted in something that’s believable so it’s not just this arch villain plot that comes out of nowhere. Watts explained that “No one wakes up that they’re gonna be a villain.” So we will get to see why he’s doing these bad things and what motivates him. We don’t have to agree with him, but we’ll at least get to see where he is coming from.
9. Tom Holland went undercover at Bronx School of Science to experience what it’s like going to school in America. “I had a fake name, and I put on an accent and I went for three days. I basically just had to go to this science school and blend in with all the kids. The teachers didn’t even know. It was a science school and I am no way a science student. Some of the teachers would call me up in front of the class and try to get me to do science equations and stuff. It was so embarrassing.”
10. Spider-Man‘s tone is different from Civil War. Tom explains that Spider-Man didn’t see Captain America as a threat so this time around “Its less about trying to make quick jokes and be funny and more about saving the day.”
11. Fun Fact: While undercover at the school, Tom would interview kids about what they thought about the new Spider-Man in Civil War and some kids loved him and some of the kids said they didn’t like him.
12. It’s pretty remarkable, and they’ve really pushed Spider-Man to new limits and there are few things that we definitely have not seen before as far as “the abilities that Spider-Man has. We’ve had a month before shooting where we really prepped stunts,” Tom Holland told us.
13. This Spider-Man is all about him being a kid. Peter is 15 in this movie and the plan is to keep him in high school for as many movies as they can.
14. Tom got to make the actual webbing by mixing liquid together for one of the scenes, but he had an accident while on set. “As soon as they gave it to me, I dropped it and it smashed everywhere. It was literally day one and there was this clear liquid and I pour this yellow liquid into it to mix it and it would go fluorescent white and sort of goopy. Me being me I go, ‘Aww. this is the coolest thing ever,’ then smashed it everywhere. They immediately took it off of me and I wasn’t’ allowed to play with it again.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theaters everywhere July 7th, 2017