Tom Holland praises his Spider-Man co-star Zendaya, explaining how she helped him as his life was changing. The pair initially shared the screen together in Spider-Man: Homecoming, with the 2017 film launching both actors into a new level of fame.
Returning for the 2019 sequel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Zendaya went from a supporting role to a more prominent player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her character, MJ, grows closer to Peter Parker (Holland) and the two end the sequel in a very different place than when it first started. The relationship between Peter and MJ is something that many MCU fans hope to see explored with more focus in Spider-Man 3, which is currently filming.
The chemistry that Holland shares with Zendaya is a big reason why the on-screen duo work well together and, in a new interview with Backstage, Holland goes into detail about how much Zendaya has helped his career and life. After naming Robert Downey Jr. as his first choice for an acting mentor, Holland cites Zendaya’s influence. You can read his full quote below:
The second person would probably be Zendaya. When we started shooting the first [“Spider-Man”] film, she, Jacob [Batalon], and I all became best mates. She was so helpful in the process of my life changing, because not only are you making big films and you’re traveling the world, but everyone starts to know who you are. And you have to behave differently. You have a responsibility to kind of uphold this idea of being a role model to young kids. And, arguably, she’s the best at that. You can’t really find anything against Zendaya, she’s kind of like the perfect person. It was so wonderful to have someone like her in my corner, to help me grow through that process. And, yes, I’ve made mistakes—I went through a phase where I hated taking pictures with people, and I was like, “No, no, no, leave me alone!” She really taught me, she was like, “That would probably stress you out more than saying yes and being nice about it.” She was so right. It’s made that whole process so much nicer. Having her as a friend has been so valuable to the success and happiness of my career and life.
Holland’s remarks speak to the different experiences of the entertainment industry that Zendaya has had. The actress started her career as a child model and backup dancer before gaining a bigger spotlight thanks to her role as Rocky Blue on the Disney series Shake It Up. Given the intense fandom that Disney series evokes from its viewers, as the likes of Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus can attest, Zendaya was considerably more accustomed to dealing with outsized celebrity. Meanwhile, prior to being chosen as the MCU’s Spider-Man, Holland’s movies were largely limited to portrayals in historical dramas and family thrillers. However, since breaking out as the Friendly Neighborhood Web-Slinger, he could no longer maintain relative anonymity. It would make sense that Holland needed the time to adjust, and it’s great to hear that Zendaya made it a point to help him.
As the duo continue to challenge themselves with unique performances, hopefully they can work together on a different project in the future. Holland and Zendaya have both been heavily praised for their turns in Cherry and Malcolm & Marie, respectively, and it would be interesting to see how their friendship would translate as characters other than MJ and Peter. Perhaps they could find themselves in a horror film or a romantic comedy. Considering the followings that they’ve built, any potential collaboration would garner plenty of attention. For now, hopefully, they’ll get plenty of time in the next Spider-Man movie.