When you think of Tom Holland, it’s only natural that you immediately think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — the British actor’s claim to fame is his role in the franchise as friendly neighbourhood hero Spider-Man. But Holland's range extends far beyond fighting supervillains and swinging through skyscrapers, and in new Netflix film The Devil All the Time, out September 16, we get to see the full scope of his talent.
The Devil All the Time is an upcoming Netflix noir film adapted from the eponymous Donald Ray Pollock novel that explores the shadowy happenings in the small town of Knockemstiff, Ohio. Holland stars in the project as protagonist Arvin Russell, a teenager who strays from the straight and narrow as he tries to uncover a family mystery that forces him to confront some of Knockemstiff's most unscrupulous characters. Throughout the film, Arvin struggles with reconciling the way he was raised with the evil that he encounters and the evil that he himself gives into.
Fans might be surprised to see Holland going dark for the film — after all, we only know him as Peter Parker, Iron Man's protege and the MCU's baby boy — but the 24-year-old isn't a kid anymore. The Devil All the Time director Antonio Campos promises that audiences will be blown away by his nuanced performance in the movie, teasing that we might be looking at "one of the greats of his generation."
"In the hands of a lesser actor, Arvin would have just been an impenetrable, potentially alienating character who did a lot of awful things,” Campos told Indie Wire about Holland's lead role. “The key to him was understanding his trauma and communicating the humanity in him."
"Beyond adapting his voice and his physicality, Tom was able to take on and carry the trauma Arvin had lived but was still able to communicate the warmth and humanity that made Arvin an accessible character we could actually connect with and root for.”
"For an actor of his age to be able to capture this kind of complexity effortlessly is rare," concluded Campos. "He is one of the best I’ve worked with and truly one of the greats of his generation.”
Holland shares the screen with a number of seasoned, talented actors (including Robert Pattinson, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, and MCU cast mate Sebastian Stan), but Campos is proud to say that the Spider-Man: Homecoming actor held his own. In a new featurette from the Southern Gothic thriller, Holland reveals that he drawn to the part of Arvin because of how different it was from any of his past projects — and how far he'd have to push himself to bring its story to life.
"What really attracted me to this role was the fact that I would be pushing myself in ways I haven't before," Holland told the Netflix Film Club. "It was a really fun process because people associate Tom Holland with Spider-Man, and they expect me to talk [like Peter Parker]."
"I wanted to bring what was on the page alive, and for me, that meant finding things in me I didn't know I had," he continued. "It's been exciting for me to dive into something new and fresh, and hopefully, audiences disconnect from the Spider-Man world and dive into The Devil All the Time."