“We all embraced each other, and we were all crying because it meant so much to us,” the actor says of bulking up to play Nathan Drake, and he shares a real-life, emotional moment that made its way into his recent Marvel film: “We all embraced each other, and we were all crying because it meant so much to us.”
When Tom Holland returned to the Uncharted set in July 2020 following a COVID-19 sabbatical, he carried 16 to 18 pounds of fresh muscle with him to play a youthful Nathan “Nate” Drake. Holland also acquired the art of flair bartending, since his Nate has yet to become the fabled treasure hunter from the Uncharted video game series. Surprisingly, Ruben Fleischer’s picture takes heavily from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which Holland chance to play while on the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Eventually, Sony picture chief Tom Rothman offered that Holland portray Drake since the two sides wanted to capitalise on their hugely successful Spider-Man cooperation. From July 2020 through late 2021, the two Sony properties were connected as Holland completed a gruelling production schedule that included back-to-back Uncharted and Spider-Man: No Way Home shooting, as well as extra photography for both projects.
When Holland arrived on the set of Spider-Man: No Way Home in October 2020, producer Amy Pascal immediately recognised him as Drake.
“Interestingly, coming back to Peter, I felt the change more so,” Holland tells The Hollywood Reporter. “When we completed shooting Uncharted, I flew directly from Barcelona to Atlanta to begin filming [Spider-Guy: No Way Home], and [producer] Amy Pascal asked me why I was walking like a man.” ‘You don’t look the same,’ she said. You’re not walking in the same manner. ‘There’s just something about you that stands out.’ So Nathan Drake’s body is really different from Peter Parker’s, and it took me a long time to sculpt that element of him.”
Holland’s efforts have already paid off, as Spider-Man: No Way Home is presently the sixth highest-grossing picture of all time. Audiences all across the globe couldn’t wait to watch Holland’s Spider-Man/Peter Parker square off against his predecessors, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Holland was so affected by the presence of his co-stars that he enthusiastically thanked them both on site, and the No Way Home brain team of director Jon Watts, Pascal, and screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers realised they had to incorporate a similar moment in the picture.
“I said to [Maguire and Garfield], ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this,” Holland said. Thank you for coming. Thank you for raising Spider-Man in such a way. Thank you for being so kind as to let me share this with you. Thank you for taking a chance and returning.’ Tobey hadn’t performed in about ten years, so we all embraced and cried because it meant so much to us. And when Jon Watts, Amy Pascal, and the authors witnessed this moment between the three of us, they said, ‘Brilliant! Now we know how they’re going to say their goodbyes.’ So we basically simply reshot that very real scene between the three of us
Holland was able to square a lingering sorrow by having the opportunity to work with Garfield.
“Something I can look back on now with clarity and sorrow is that I never phoned [Garfield] when I took over as Spider-Man,” Holland acknowledges. “I would have been crushed if someone had told me after my second film that I was done and this other child was taking over.” So, in retrospect, I wish I had the opportunity to make amends with him, but this film was our chance. It was not only a chance for him to reconcile with the character and the studio, but it was also an opportunity for me and him to understand we could share this thing. His expression as he saves Zendaya [MJ] is really genuine.
Holland also discusses the difficulty of portraying “the cool guy” for the first time in Uncharted in a recent interview with THR. Then he recalls his encounter with Charlie Cox in No Way Home.
So Uncharted borrows certain ideas from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which you just happened to play in your Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer, right?
Yes, I did! While filming Spider-Man: Homecoming, [Holland’s closest buddy] Harrison [Osterfield] and I played Uncharted 4, and we both liked it. “Wow, this would make a really amazing picture,” I thought at the moment, but I never anticipated I’d be portraying Nathan Drake.
Let’s wrap up Uncharted. What day will you tell your family about first, decades from now, when you reminisce about producing this film?
It was a fairly stunning day when I was hit by an automobile. That was a great deal of pleasure. It was excruciatingly uncomfortable, yet extremely fulfilling. When someone asks, “How was your day today?” it’s a very nice thing to hear. “Hey, I got struck by a car 17 times,” I said. And everyone is like, “Wait, what?” So that was a pretty gratifying moment for me, and I believe it’s one of the finest stunts in the film. It’s extremely fantastic, and that has to be one of the highlights.