The first reviews for Spider-Man: Homecoming are in, and most critics have good things to say about the wall crawler’s newest outing. Highlighting things like Tom Holland’s performance, Michael Keaton’s turn as Vulture, and the diverse cast, reviews have continued to call out certain performers or characters by name. One of them is Jacob Batalon and his character, Ned Leeds.
“The first thing I auditioned for, it was Untitled Marvel Project,” Batalon said. “The specs were so general. It was like ‘Any body type, any age as long as you look like you’re 17,’ or something crazy. Literally anything, you could’ve been anything. And then [they] give you these fake sides for a self-tape, and then I got a callback self-tape and they gave me [an] actual script. When they gave that to me, they were like, ‘You know what? Scratch that, just do a screen test instead.’ Because honestly, I felt like they didn’t trust me with actual scripts. I feel like they thought I was just gonna lose it somewhere.
So, I did a screen test with Tom [Holland] and Sarah Finn, the casting director who I love with all my heart. She was the person who said, ‘Oh yeah, just wait two weeks and then we’ll let you know either way.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, sure. Great.’ Two weeks go by, you hear nothing. Another two weeks go by, you hear nothing. Basically, two-and-a-half months go by and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is the most depressing period of my life.’”
After an agonizing wait, Batalon received a call that started to bring things around:
“But then I get a phone call, I’ll tell you the whole date too, April 17, 2016, 10:47 PM at night. My manager at the time calls me up and he’s like, ‘Bro, they want you in the film. But wait, they don’t know who you’re gonna play yet.’ And I’m like, ‘You motherf—er. You f—ing crazy!’ And I was just going crazy.
And then the second phone call was like May 6, right after I graduated from film school,” Batalon said. “I was trying to get to Grand Central. I was on the sidewalk, I was in Bryant Park on 42nd, and my manager calls me up and he’s just like, ‘You’re it man. They’re gonna make you Ned.’ And I’m like, Sir, thank you so much. I love you so much.’ And I hung up the phone. I started crying, I started screaming, I started yelling and running down the sidewalk. All these people are staring at me like whether or not to celebrate or call the police on me. It was crazy as hell. I missed my train but that was the best… I had to wait another 35 minutes but the 35 minutes of waiting for that train, man, let me tell you, pure euphoria.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7, 2017.