Tom Holland Wanted His Spider-Man to Be This Generation’s Marty McFly

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Tom Holland’s Spider-Man inspiration is a blast from the past: Marty McFly, the time-traveling teenager played by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. Director Jon Watts paid homage to seminal ’80s teen comedies The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when sending a rebooted Peter Parker (Holland) back to high school in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, a spin on a John Hughes-esque superhero movie. But Holland, who entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, drew heavy inspiration from Fox’s role as Marty McFly in Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future trilogy.

“There definitely is [shared DNA with ’80s coming-of-age movies in Spider-Man],” Holland said on First We Feast’s Hot Ones. “Jon definitely took inspiration from those movies, there are aspects of the way characters are dressed or the way they look that is definitely inspired by those movies. I think that’s what sets our franchise apart from the rest of the superhero genre: they have this happy-go-lucky, coming-of-age high school movie vibe, which I’ve never really seen before in a superhero film.”

For Homecoming, which sees a rookie Spider-Man thwarting the Vulture’s (Michael Keaton) plot to steal a cache of dangerous weapons, Holland said, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, for me, was the one that had the most inspiration for Spider-Man, this kid who’s breaking the rules but doing it for the right reasons.”

“But the biggest inspiration for me, and my biggest goal in playing Spider-Man, I really wanted to be this generation’s Marty McFly. That’s up for everyone else’s opinion, but for me, I’m really proud of what we did, and especially my relationship with Downey,” added Holland of the mentor-protege relationship between Peter Parker and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). “To me, there’s a lot of similarities between Marty and Doc [Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd]. I know that they have deepfaked us [into Back to the Future] and made that happen — which was a huge honor for me, I loved seeing it — but that, for me, would have been the biggest inspiration.”

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Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17.

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