Hard as it is to believe given the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s seemingly ceaseless release schedule of late, but it’s only been a little over three full years since the Avengers were forced to choose sides and throw down hard in Captain America: Civil War. Surprising as said fact may be, it also means that — despite appearing as everyones favorite web-slinging teen in a total of five Marvel movies to date — not much time has actually passed since Tom Holland stepped into the role of Spider-Man.
While the young actor instantly became an MCU favorite after Civil War and the soon-to-follow Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s worth noting Holland was all but unknown before he donned the spandex and started cleaning up the mean streets of Queens. Though Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) will forever stand as Holland’s breakthrough role, it was hardly the young Brit’s first acting gig. Here’s what Tom Holland was up to before he became Spider-Man.
Try to contain your shock, but the unflinchingly charismatic actor apparently came out of the womb with the acting bug fully in tact. Holland has just recently turned 23 (as of June 2019), but he’s a legit old soul as an actor, having already spent the bulk of his life working on stage and on screen. He got his first big break at the ripe old age of 12, when he was spotted by a dance choreographer who was putting together a cast of youngsters for the West End production of Billy Elliot. That play was adapted from the brilliant Jamie Bell-starrer of the same name, and tells the tale of a working-class British kid who wants to become a ballet dancer. Though Holland was initially cast as Billy’s best mate Michael, he stepped into the title role just a few months later.
While Holland’s dancing skills have become legend in the years since, he ended his lauded stint on Billy Elliott after just a two-year run. Having conquered the stage, the burgeoning teen star immediately set out to make an impact on the screen as well. He earned his first credited gig by lending his voice to the U.K. version of Studio Ghibli’s underrated gem The Secret World of Arrietty. Cinema lovers got their first look at Holland’s cherubic face a couple of years later when he co-starred in the based-on-true-events drama The Impossible, appearing opposite Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as one of the miraculous survivors of the 2004 tsunami that decimated Thailand.