Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Zendaya, Jacob Batalon and Laura Harrier discuss how their characters help root the film in high school. Jon Watts’ latest directorial effort will be the first full film as part of Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures’ deal to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker marks the third iteration of the comic book character to grace the big screen in the last two decades – following the performances of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in their respective Spidey franchises.
One aspect of Spider-Man: Homecoming – and future Spidey movies from Sony and Marvel – that differentiates the film from its predecessors is that it’s firmly rooted in high school, with Holland portraying a younger Peter Parker than the other live-action versions of the character than we’ve seen. As such, Peter’s school is populated by fellow teenagers, including his best friend Ned (Batalon), the girl he has a crush on, Liz Allen (Harrier), and the semi-outcast, Michelle (Zendaya).
During the Spider-Man: Homecoming press junket this past weekend, Screen Rant had a chance to sit down with Zendaya, Batalon, and Harrier and talk about the inspirations for their characters as well as where they hope to see their characters go in the sequel.
Have you guys seen the movie yet?
How do you think it compares to other Marvel movies?
Zendaya: I think it’s pretty awesome.
Batalon: I mean, I don’t like to brag but I think we did pretty good. No it was really good.
Harrier: Pretty good. I knew it was going to be funny, but I didn’t expect it to be as funny as it was.
Batalon: And there was a lot of really, really touching moments.
Harrier: A lot of twists. Even though we’re in it, we know, but it’s still like, [gasps].
Zendaya: It did feel really different from the other movies. Even though I loved the other movies, I didn’t think about the movies. I wasn’t like, ‘Oh well in the other one…’ I thought it would have more comparisons, but it’s just so different.
Harrier: It’s just a completely different take…
Batalon: Yeah, it’s its own story and I think they did a really good job.
One of the things that sets Homecoming apart from the other Spider-Man movies especially is that it’s so rooted in high school and you guys are a big part of that. So can you talk about your characters and how they help Peter stay rooted in his high school experience?
Batalon: Peter, for the most part, he’s just trying to grow up too fast. And like he’s just trying to forget the whole fact of him being in high school. Ned, for all intents and purposes, just wants to be with him 24/7, be his sidekick, his guy in the chair, everything and I think that it’s important he’s the one who brings it back to the reality of school. And that he still has his crush on Liz and that we still come across Michelle. That’s the story we’re trying to tell, it’s not a Spider-Man story, it’s a Peter Parker story.
So what do you guys what to see your characters do in the sequel?
Zendaya: I don’t know. Where ever my character goes, I just want her to stay weird. I think that’s the most important thing. I want her to continue to have a really interesting personality. Maybe she becomes friends with you guys, maybe she lets you in. If so, she’s going to still be weird, I’m going to let you know that now, she’s probably going to be still insulting you.
Batalon: I hope that Ned comes across Black Widow at some point. I’m serious about that.
Harrier: I hope Liz get’s powers, because that’s what happens in the comics. She becomes Firestar, and she can light things on fire.
Zendaya: There’s so many options.
Jacob, Ned helps Peter out a little bit toward the end, is he going to become more of the guy in the chair for Peter going forward?
Batalon: That’s what we’re hoping, I mean, that’s what I’m hoping.
This movie obviously had a lot of ‘80s influences, were there any movies or characters in particular you used to influence your characters?
Harrier: For me, Ione Skye in Say Anything was a big influence. I think we were all kind of Breakfast Club-y.
Zendaya: We all kind of got the references.
Harrier: Ferris Bueller, too. All those movies, I feel like, Jon [Watts] did such a good job of pulling from those. There’s even a direct Ferris Bueller clip.
Zendaya: Yeah, getting that essence.
Harrier: Yeah, I think that translated.
A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
Directed by Jon Watts. Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, Screen Story by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
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