Jacob Batalon (right) aka Ned aka The Man in the Chair from Spider-Man: Homecoming with Olympus Athen’s son Brandon (left) at NYCC 2017.
Photo by Olympus Athens for Geeks Of Doom.
New York Comic-Con was so much fun this past weekend, and one of the highlights of my time was getting to interview “the man in the chair” aka movie-stealer aka Spidey’s best friend aka Ned also known as Jacob Batalon. Spider-Man: Homecoming was one of the best Spider-Man movies in years, and one of the many reasons was Batalon’s utter glee as Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) sidekick.
Check out the interview below.
I had my son with me for the interview, instructing him to wait in a corner and be quiet, but when Batalon saw him, he gestured him over for the cover photo. So nice! My son was really pleased, Batalon winning my heart forever. But, duty called and we got down to business.
Geeks of Doom: So what was filming this iteration of this iconic franchise like?
Jacob Batalon: It was amazing. For most of us it was our 1st big thing, and it was such a good time to work with such talented, successful people. It was such an eye-opening thing in my career, mindblowing that I get to do all these things.
Geeks of Doom: So before it like, “blew up,” did you know it was going to be one of the best Spider-Man movies ever? I mean, besides Tobey Maguire’s 1st one, this was it.
Jacob Batalon: We definitely were really conscious with how we wanted to go about the project, and we were able to make something so based on real life that everyone related to it. We definitely thought it was going to be different from all the Spider-Man movies. We definitely thought it was going to be its own film, but the success was so unprecedented. We’ve been riding this high.
Geeks of Doom: I’m sure everyone asks you this, but are you Tom Holland’s best friend in real life?
Jacob Batalon: I mean, yeah, we’re brothers. We’re really, really close. I was just spending some time with him, watching him film his new movie. We’re pretty tight.
Geeks of Doom: For the Lip Sync Battle thing, did you make fun of him, even though he was soooo awesome in it?
Jacob Batalon: We were all there in the balcony. It was so crazy, with the water… It was good. So entertaining.
Geeks of Doom: So cool! Okay, so besides the next Untitled Spider-Man, do you have any other projects coming up?
Jacob Batalon: Yes. I just wrapped The True Don Quixote in May. I did that with THE Tim Blake Nelson, the legend. Our director, Chris Poche, who was also the writer was amazing. I did a short film called Watch Room. Every Day starring Angourie Rice, comes out on February 2nd. I just did a film with Rooster Teeth, who’s also here, called called Blood Fest. It’s pretty gory.
Geeks of Doom: So you were my [our] favorite character in the movie. Your exuberance reached us through the screen. How much of that was written and how much of that was just… “Holy s***! I’m in a Spider-Man movie!!!”
Jacob Batalon: It was quite a bit of both. I’d say a lot of it had to do with the character itself. But the excitement I got from actually having a job really helped me. The character was also really well-written. They just trusted me with him and now Ned is just a part of my life.
Geeks of Doom: What was your audition like?
Jacob Batalon: It was a really long process. We all kind of went through these phases of self-tapes and screen tests. I mean, I waited about 2 1/2 months before I heard anything. I didn’t really hear anything about the role until 2 weeks before pre-production.
Geeks of Doom: So did your agent send this your way, or did you just show up at a casting call or…?
Jacob Batalon: So, Sarah Finn, the casting director… she had used every platform she could. She didn’t just call agencies for actors. She used things that actors use, like Actor’s Access, and things like that.
Geeks of Doom: Smart.
Jacob Batalon: Yeah. I love her. She’s amazing. So my manager and I had caught wind of that and he put me on a self-tape. 2 1/2 weeks later I got called in… did a screen test with Tom. And about 2 1/2 months later, they called me up. It was insane.
Geeks of Doom: I know you’re from Hawaii. So what do you think of New York and New York Comic-Con?
Jacob Batalon: Hawaii is a really family oriented place. Hawaii is in their own time zone. Nothing really bothers them. New York is really just about their business, point A to point B. It’s not that they’re rude, they are just really up front with you. And I think that that is one thing that people really misconstrue. I genuinely like that people don’t care about who you are.
Geeks of Doom: Last question. Did you study up for this role? Did you read comics, watch the old cartoons, watch all the other Spider-Man movies?
Jacob Batalon: I definitely got into the comics after I got the role. I had read so much about Ned Leeds and Ganke [Lee] who I draw a lot of comparisons to. It’s interesting because there’s just so many storylines and so many complex things, you can’t even keep up sometimes. But it’s so fun and entertaining. I get why people like it.
And we get why people like Jacob Batalon.
Be sure to check out all of Geeks Of Doom’s on-site coverage of NYCC 2017 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
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