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By now, everyone who cares about these sorts of things is probably aware of the tense saga over the summer that almost saw Spider-Man leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever. It started when talks between Sony and Disney to renegotiate shared use of the character fell apart, and for a little while it seems like everyone was just resigned to things staying that way. Then, Sony's Tom Rothman and Disney's Bob Iger were able to work things out and get a new Spider-Man film back on track, with a little boost from Tom Holland.
What you might not know, because Holland didn't really mention it until now, is that he was just a little drunk when he took a crucial phone call to help preserve the character's future.
Holland was on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night to promote his new animated action comedy Spies in Disguise, and Kimmel took the opportunity to ask him about something he'd heard from Iger, who claimed Holland played a key role in bridging the divide between Disney and Sony.
"I wouldn't say it was entirely my doing," Holland said, then went on to explain that his involvement really began at this year's D23 Expo, when he was "devastated" by the then-recent news that his character would have to leave the MCU. According to Holland, he was even excluded from taking group photos with other MCU stars at the time for fear it would look like a branding moment, but he at least wanted to reach out to Iger and thank him for the experience with Marvel Studios. So, he asked for his email, and sent what was ostensibly just a thank you note.
“I just wanted to say, ‘This has been an amazing five years of my life. Thank you for changing my life in the best way and I hope that we can work together in the future,'” Holland recalled, and said Iger responded "very quickly" and asked if he could give him a call.
That's when things like got a little more complicated, because Holland neglected to try and set a specific time frame from the Disney executive for their phone call.
“You don’t give Bob Iger a schedule. You’re like, ‘Whenever, Bob!'” Holland said. “So, two, three days go by and then my family and I went to the pub quiz in our local town. We’re doing a quiz and I’m three pints in, haven’t eaten much, and I get a phone call from an unknown number and I have a feeling. I’m like, ‘I think this is Bob Iger but I’m drunk.'”
At the urging of his father, Holland took the call from Iger despite the three pints, and Iger told him "there is a world where we can make this work." Kimmel then asked Holland if he cried on the phone with Iger, and after first joking "I weeped," Holland confirmed that it was a rather tearful exchange.
“I was really emotional ’cause I felt like it was all coming to an end,” Holland said.
Something about that phone call went well enough that, according to Holland, it helped launch a string of phone calls between various executives, including Iger and Sony's Tom Rothman.
"It was really interesting for me to have these two studio heads like 'What do you think?'" Holland recalled.
So, the road to saving Spider-Man may have actually begun at D23, but it really picked up steam when a young actor picked up his phone in a pub, after having a few pints, to talk to perhaps the most powerful studio head in the world. Way to hold it together, Holland.