Bob Iger Dishes on Tom Holland's 'Spider-Man' Return: "He Cared So Much"

"I felt for him and it was clear that the fans wanted all of this to happen," the Disney mogul explained during his Thursday night appearance on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'
Courtesy of ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

Disney CEO Robert Iger joined late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where he discussed his memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company and Tom Holland's last-minute appeal to secure a Marvel and Sony deal for a new Spider-Man film. 

"We had an event called D-23 and Tom [Holland] was there because he's a voice in a new Pixar movie called Onward. He said something and it was clear that the fans wanted Tom back as Spider-Man," Iger explained to the late-night host when asked how the actor proved to be the unsung hero. 

Iger continued to explain that after Disney's D23 Expo, Holland asked for Iger's phone number and email, to which Iger responded that he'd speak with him, which changed his perspective. "It was clear that he cared so much. He's a great Spider-Man. I felt for him and it was clear that the fans wanted all of this to happen." 

Iger said that after speaking with Holland, he "made a couple of phone calls" before ultimately calling the head of Sony. "He called me and I called them," Iger said, also adding that "sometimes companies, when they are negotiating, they forget that there are other folks out there that actually matter." 

Marvel will produce a third Spider-Man movie for Sony, allowing Holland to appear in at least one additional Disney-Marvel film. Marvel chief Kevin Feige (who also is teaming with Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy on a Star Wars movie) will run creative point. Disney will earn 25 percent of net gross on a third Spider-Man — opening July 16, 2021 — and chip in 25 percent of the budget.

During his sit-down with Kimmel, Iger also discussed his upcoming memoir, which is a a revealing account of his workplace experiences, the habits that have led to his continued health and success, and what his life was like before his executive career moves.

"I wanted to write a book about things that I learned," Iger said, hoping it serves as a leadership guide. Iger also admitted that he made over 2,800 edits to the book throughout the writing process. 

With the memoir titled The Ride of a Lifetime, Kimmel suggested other titles Iger can use for any future works including: "I Bought Fox and I'll Buy You Too," "Crouching Iger, Hidden Dragon" and "I've Seen C-3PO Nude." 

Poking fun at the Walt Disney Co. CEO, Kimmel mentioned that he was excited to find anything written about himself in the book. "I went right to the index to look up my name and I did not find my name," Kimmel said, before reading a mock dedication Iger wrote to the late-night host. "Jimmy, you are my pride and my joy. I love you," Kimmel read. 

"The book is from the heart, starting with that," Iger laughingly responded. Continuing to banter, Kimmel said apart from Roseanne Barr, he has caused Iger "more headaches than anyone in the last 15 years." Kimmel also complained that he has a symbol on his employee card that prevents him from receiving any discounts. 

Iger also reflected on his early days of working as "the assistant to the production assistant" and being assigned to get Frank Sinatra Listerine ahead of performing on the live concert ABC was airing from Madison Square Garden at the time.  

"He handed me a fresh hundred dollar bill," Iger recalled of the moment he gave Sinatra the Listerine. "At the end of the concert, everybody got a gold cigarette lighter that said, 'Thanks, Frank.'" Iger then showed Kimmel the lighter, which he has never used and once gifted to his late father. "And now you're giving it to me," Kimmel quipped.

Kimmel continued to joke with Iger, even asking him whether he would remove Trump from the Hall of Presidents at Disney World should the president be impeached. "I think I'm allowed to plead the fifth," Iger responded. 

When Iger joined Oprah Winfrey for an episode of Super Soul Sunday, the media mogul said she would be back him if he were to launch a campaign for the oval office. "If Bob Iger had decided to run for president, I would be canvassing in Iowa right now," said Winfrey. "I would be going door to door. … I said I always pictured myself standing on somebody's step in Brooklyn and them saying, 'Oprah, what are you doing here?' And I'd say, 'Let me tell you about my friend Bob.'"

Iger responded to Winfrey saying he should run for president and would volunteer to pass out leaflets for him. "I will run for president if you also join Oprah," Iger told Kimmel, to which the late-night host happily agreed to doing.