English actor snares role of teenage Peter Parker
LITTLE-KNOWN English actor Tom Holland has been picked to play the web-slinging superhero in the next Spider-Man film, which is due for release in July 2017, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios said on Tuesday.
Holland, 19, will play Spider-Man's teenage alter ego Peter Parker as a high-school-age student in the upcoming, yet-to-be titled film.
He follows in the footsteps of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who have portrayed the comic book superhero at older stages of his life in the five previous movies.
Holland played Naomi Watts' son in the 2012 tsunami drama The Impossible and recently appeared in the British television miniseries Wolf Hall.
He was selected after a worldwide casting search for the film, which will be directed by Jon Watts.
"We saw many terrific young actors, but Tom's screen tests were special," Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group, said in a statement.
News of Holland's selection may disappoint some fans, who had said they wanted a black actor to play Spider-Man for the upcoming film.
Walt Disney's Marvel Studios will co-produce the film with Sony. Under an agreement announced in February, Spider-Man will appear in the Marvel films, and Marvel characters such as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America could appear in later Spider-Man films.
Holland is expected to make his first appearance as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, which is due for release in summer next year.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, a division of Sony Corporation, will continue to own the cinematic rights to Spider-Man.
Writer Stan Lee and writer/artist Steve Ditko created the fictional superhero character, who first appeared in comics in 1962.
The Spider-Man franchise has earned more than US$4 billion (S$5.4 billion) at the box office worldwide, making it the most successful franchise in the history of Sony Pictures.