It was way back in July of 2016 when I saw a post on Twitter that Marvel was casting high school students for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’. Lucky for me, the film was shooting in Atlanta (where I live), so I applied and sent photos in as soon as I could. It was always a dream of mine to be in a Marvel movie, especially a Spider-Man movie. After sending in all my information, I waited everyday for a response. I even planned my Summer around the slim chance that would get at least one day of shooting, and that’s exactly what I got.
*VERY VERY MINOR PLOT DETAILS FOR ‘SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING’ AHEAD*
I finally got a response with the day that I could work. It was the BIG scene. The scene that the movie hinged on (or so I thought). The scene that the movie was named after. The Homecoming Dance scene.
Lucky for me, some of my friends were selected as well. I was able to go through the whole process with them, and it was a LONG process. After being picked up at a select location by buses and transferred to the high school the film was shooting at, we had to wait in long lines with 250 other kids to get our outfits selected by the stylists. After that, we had to wait in even longer lines for hair and makeup, but after all the line waiting, the assistant directors came into the auditorium to start bringing the kids on set. Oh, and they took our phones so don’t expect any exclusive photos from behind the scenes.
My friends and I were part of the first 50 or so kids that got to go into the school gym where the dance took place. Then they took about 20 kids from that group to be in the front room of the gym where several of the shots would take place. I was lucky enough to get into this group, along with my friends.
Most of the kids in this group were set up with dates, but my friend and I were the odd ones out. We just played two bros, and we even came up with out own handshake to make the atmosphere more realistic. We thought the handshake was great, but later the assistant director said, “Hey guys, how about this time we don’t do the handshake, okay?” so i guess it wasn’t that cool after all.
This group was named the Enchantment Group (like the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance from ‘Back To The Future’), and we had to return to this location a couple times throughout filming for more extensive and close up shots of Tom Holland walking into the dance. Only about two shots from this room were actually used in the movie. If you watch or have watched the movie, this is the small area where Peter walks into the school but doesn’t yet walk into the gym. There’s a shot of him looking through the glass door, and if you look to his right you’ll spot me.
Before shooting, I didn’t think there was any chance I would be able to talk to any of the cast, but it turns out, The Enchantment Group was able to get some quality time with Tom Holland in between takes. Tom is actually the coolest guy, and he’s just as likable and grounded as he is on screen and in interviews. He first noticed me when I staring at him blankly like a deer in the headlights, and he even waved to me. Later I was able to talk to him and shake his hand. He told us his favorite Spider-Man movie was ‘Spider-Man 2’ (good choice, Tom). He even started giving out autographs on the fake tickets for the dance, but before he could get to mine, the assistant directors told him to get back into position. I kept my ticket anyway, but I don’t think we were supposed to.
Tom wasn’t the only cast member I got to meet. I had an encounter with Zendaya, though it was short lived. At this point, I was in the gym where all the dancing was going on, and I saw Zendaya talking to Jacob Batalon. I thought I should ask her what character she was playing in the movie because at this time it was disclosed. The worst that could happen would be that she says, “Sorry, I’m not aloud to say,” or something like that, so I asked her. Instead, she says, “Oh, that’s a cool light over there,” as she pointed behind me. I turned to look at what she was pointing to, and when I turned back, she had resumed her conversation with Jacob. It wasn’t as good as my encounters with Tom Holland, but I was just grateful for the chance to meet her.
In the part of the scene where Peter is walking across the gym to his date, all the kids were dancing awkwardly in the background, and I happened to be one of these awkward kids shown in the movie. Take a look to Tom Holland’s left as he walks through the crowd of dancing kids, and you might notice me. This shot also takes place right after the other shot I was in, so I somehow make it from the front room of the gym to halfway across the gym in a matter of seconds. This had my brothers and me laughing hysterically when we saw the movie last night.
Most of the day, though was spent just sitting in a non air conditioned gym with 250 kids in homecoming attire while we were waiting for the stand ins to rehearse the shot. We spent 10 hours working on a scene that only lasted about 30 seconds in the movie, but I would do it again in a heartbeat because it was an amazing experience.
At the end of the day, we were all given popsicles because it was director Jon Watts’ birthday, so we all went home happy.
Here’s a shot of me from a behind the scenes featurette of the movie. You can barely see the top of my head, but I promise I get better face time in the movie.
Here are some shots from the trailers of scenes where my friends made it into the movie.
Check out our review of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ here.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is in theaters now.
Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine — distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.