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Tom Holland, Spider-Man wears Cartier
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Tom Holland, Spider-Man wears Cartier

Friday, 30 August 2019
By Frank Rousseau
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Frank Rousseau

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7 min read

Good news for action fans! Spider-Man is back in his web and it’s Tom Holland who returns to the big screen to save the world. We caught up with this all-round nice guy.

This is your fifth outing as Spider-Man. Aren't you getting just a little bit tired of the character by now?

On the contrary. He’s become an extension of myself, a blood brother almost. I feel the same enthusiasm, the same conviction and the same enjoyment playing him now as I did the very first time. This was actually the hardest film I’ve ever made in my career.

Tom Holland
Tom Holland
Why's that?

First of all because we’re coming off the back of Avengers: Endgame. The public were so impressed by what the Russo brothers did that, obviously, the stakes are much higher for Spider-Man: Far From Home. Then there’s the emotional arc that Spider-Man has gone through. He’s matured. More than I have, that’s for sure! [laughs]. As well as being emotionally demanding, it turned out to be a physically challenging role, too. I’ve never done so many stunts in my entire life. There’s a sequence in Venice where I’m not wearing my mask, so you really see it’s me pole-vaulting up a 30-foot bridge, running across poles and bouncing off buildings. I’m not saying I’m Tom Cruise but I think I did a pretty good job. I must have performed 90% of the stunts myself. I came away covered in bruises and hurt my leg, but I’m definitely not complaining. In fact I remember having a beer with a friend, talking about what we were up to, and I said I was going to Bali to promote the film. He looked at me, and told me to shut up and drink my beer!

Both you and co-star Jake Gyllenhaal wear a Cartier watch.

Yep! We’ve become watch buddies, thanks to the Santos de Cartier. We didn’t plan it, it’s pure coincidence that we like the same watch.

The Santos de Cartier is a chameleon watch.
Still, it's not the type of watch you expect to see on a young guy's wrist.

True, but I think it’s possible to appreciate beautiful things at any age. It only recently occurred to me that I’d turned into a watch guy. I don’t know if it’s something to do with getting older or always having to chase after time, but now when I see a well-designed watch, it catches my eye whereas previously it would go over my head. For a long time, I saw watches as serving a purpose, which was to tell the time. All the rest, how they are made, the complications and the history, that was all secondary.

Tom Holland
Tom Holland
What made you choose the Santos?

It’s an intelligent watch in the sense that it adapts to every situation. You can pair it with a suit just as easily as you can wear it with jeans and a t-shirt. It’s kind of a chameleon watch that adapts to your lifestyle. You just put it on and you know that it will do its job perfectly, whatever the circumstances. That job being to show others you have impeccable taste!

How many watches do you own?

Actually, quite a few. I have a Patek Philippe Aquanaut, a Piaget Altiplano 900P, and some others. I don’t have a favourite brand. I look at the general aesthetic, the finishing and also how reliable it is. I appreciate craftsmanship and a job well done. Don’t forget I studied design technology, and that there are a lot of carpenters on my mother’s side. When I started my acting career, I would go on dozens and dozens of auditions without ever getting a job. It was my mum who suggested I should have a back-up plan. After all, there was no guarantee I would ever be cast. Which is how I found myself on a carpentry course in Cardiff in Wales. I remember it so well. Most of the students were ex-soldiers or ex-prisoners starting a new life, so you can imagine they gave me a tough time.

Where do you keep your watches when they're not on your wrist?

I keep the really exceptional ones in a safe and only take them out on special occasions. After the enormous box-office success of Avengers, I told my mother and grandparents that I was thinking of buying a Porsche or another very fast car. My mother was panicking like crazy, she thought it would be way too dangerous. So to vent my frustration, I went out and bought another watch instead. I haven’t given up on the idea, though. My grandfather has made it clear that he’s all in favour of it, so watch this space! Oh, and mum, I promise I won’t use the chrono on my watch to see how quickly I can get up to 300 kph!

"Some people don't get it that I'm just an ordinary guy."
Apart from watches, is there anything else you like to spend on?

There’s actually a nice story to tell. When I was 12 years old, I went to New York for the first time with my father. We ended up not far from the Ritz Carlton, on 59th, in an art gallery that was showing these incredibly lifelike copper sculptures. I don’t know how they did it, but they actually appeared as though they were floating in the air. My father couldn’t believe his eyes. I can still hear him saying that if he had the money, he’d buy a whole bunch of them. I never forgot that, so when he turned 52 recently, I bought him one as a gift. I had a heck of a hard time tracking it down, simply because the artist doesn’t make them any more. Anyway, when he unwrapped it, I could see he was moved. My dad isn’t the type to show his feelings but, on that particular occasion, he burst into tears. He was so proud of me. I got the whole thing on my iPhone!

If I say "celebrity", you say...?

I’d say there’s good and bad. I’ve never thought the whole world revolved around me, far from it, but I do know my life will never be the same again. Obviously that’s not something I regret financially, but I hate it when certain people don’t get it that I’m just an ordinary guy who wants to be able to walk down the street without being swamped by autograph hunters. Not that I have anything against people who ask for autographs. The problem is that a lot of them go on and sell them.

Tom Holland
Tom Holland
Now that the film is out and you've finished the promotion, what'll you be doing?

I’d like to brush up on my Spanish. I just found out about this language-learning app called Duolingo. I don’t know if you know it? Other than that, I recently spent four days in Bali, scuba-diving with my brother. Don’t tell anyone, though. For insurance purposes, I’m not meant to do any dangerous sports. It’s ironic, really. I can jump off a building in a Spider-Man suit but I’m not allowed to look at multi-coloured fish a few metres underwater!

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