Toronto audience members may have been too busy crying at the end of J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls to notice the Tom Holland shout-out in the “Thanks To” section of the credits. So what was the new Spider-Man doing in the tearjerker about a boy seeking the help of a scary tree creature to cope with his mom’s terminal illness?
Holland, 20, is friends with the film’s director with whom he worked on another tear-jerker, 2012’s The Impossible. “He was the stand-in for the monster,” Bayona told THR after the film made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
Added Monster’s 14-year-old star Lewis MacDougal: “It gave me something to look at when I’m talking to the monster.”
As for Bayona, who will next be tackling the world of dinosaurs as the director of Jurassic World, he had his own stand-in as he made the rounds at the festival: his identical twin brother, who does not work in the film business. The brothers, whose mutual resemblance is uncanny, were mistaken for one another more than once. “It would have been great if I could have used him as my stand-in on the set of the movie,” the Spanish helmer said.
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.