Since his debut as Peter Parker and Spider-Man earlier this year in Captain America: Civil War, actor Tom Holland has completely associated with his superhero role. A lot of that is because he’s been shooting and promoting next year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming all summer. But he’s actually got other movies out this year, including the already released drama Edge of Winter.
There’s also James Gray’s latest, The Lost City of Z, which is premiering at the New York Film Festival next month and due in theaters in 2017, plus a movie titled Pilgrimage that could also arrive before Holland’s full outing as Spidey in July. One more much bigger movie he was secrely a part of comes out in December: J.A. Bayona’s highly anticipated A Monster Calls.
By “secretly,” we mean stealthly and ultimately invisibly, because it’s no longer hidden that Holland sort of played the monster itself during production on the fantasy film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bayona has revealed the young actor was the stand-in for the tree creature, who on screen is a completly CG character and voiced by Liam Neeson.
The only credit Holland received for the film is a “Thanks To” shout out. After all, he didn’t technically contribute to the peformance of the monster, though he did help in the performance of the rest of the cast. “It gave me something to look at when I’m talking to the monster,” says Lewis MacDougal, who plays the teenage protagonist of the tearjerker, a boy coping with his mother dying.
Holland previously worked with Bayona on the director’s last feature, the tsunami drama The Impossible. It was thanks in part to that movie and all the accolades Holland received for it, that made him a strong contender for the coveted Marvel superhero gig. He was surely sought out for an audition because of that breakout performance, though it took many auditions and tests to seal the deal.
Given the friendship between actor and director, maybe Holland will find time between MCU stints to appear in Bayona’s Jurassic World sequel. Or he could just hang out on the set again, occasionally standing in for various dinosaurs. In the meantime, go see A Monster Calls when it opens in limited release on December 23 or wider on January 6, 2017. Our own Erik Davis loved it:
Here are my 30-second(ish) thoughts on #AMonsterCalls, now among my favorites of films I’ve seen at #TIFF16 pic.twitter.com/kmSnp0ruqY
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) September 11, 2016