Word of warning: There are some spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home in case you're one of the, like, five people who haven't seen it yet. [Disclosure: I'm also one of those five so don't feel too bad.]
On its way to becoming one of the biggest movies of all time — and the Hollywood box office's greatest glimmer of hope over what has been an overwhelmingly dark two years — Spider-Man: No Way Home reunited the three cinematic Peter Parkers.
Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield suited up with Tom Holland for his third solo outing as the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, and Holland couldn't have been more grateful for their presence. He was so grateful, in fact, a real-life moment in which he thanked his fellow Spider-Men inspired the way his character bid adieu to his multiversal counterparts.
Matt Kennedy/Columbia Pictures Tom Holland as Peter Parker in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'
Holland recalls the story in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
"We were on set shooting the rooftop scene where I meet [Maguire and Garfield] for the first time, and before one of the takes … It must have been my close-up or something. It was one that really, really required me to bring the emotion to the shot. So I went up to the two boys on the level that they were standing, and I said to them, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this. Thank you for being here. Thank you for elevating Spider-Man in the ways that you have. Thank you for being so gracious and allowing me to share this with you. Thank you for taking a leap of faith and coming back.' Tobey hadn't acted in nearly 10 years, so we all embraced each other, and we were all crying because it meant so much to us. And Jon Watts, Amy Pascal and the writers saw this moment between the three of us and were like, 'Brilliant! Well, now we know how they're going to say goodbye to each other.' So essentially, we just reshot that very real moment between the three of us."
Based on Holland's THR interview, and an earlier Variety profile on Garfield, the No Way Home set was awash in both web fluid and eye fluid. Garfield especially had a lot of emotional baggage with the character, having had his tenure as the web-slinger cut short after only two films. Holland says he always regretted never calling Garfield when he took over the role, but saw No Way Home as their opportunity to "make amends."
"It was not only an opportunity for him to make peace with the character and the studio, but it was also an opportunity for me and him to have this moment where we realize we could share this thing," Holland says. "The look on his face when he saves Zendaya [MJ] is totally genuine, and I'm really proud of him. I'm really chuffed that he got this opportunity to win back the world and for people to be reminded that his Spider-Man movies are fantastic and brilliant in their own right."
In fact, that moment where Garfield's Spider-Man saves Zednaya's MJ was one of the things to ultimately sell the actor on returning to the franchise. And like Holland, Garfield's love and appreciation for his fellow Peter Parkers made it into the final movie, when he improvises a line about loving Maguire and Holland.
"That was just me loving them," Garfield said.
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