When Jacob Batalon submitted a tape of himself to casting directors in response to an open call for an as-yet untitled Marvel project, he didn't think much of his chances—until he was contacted by a Marvel rep who told the film school undergrad they'd be flying him from New York to a Los Angeles for a screen test with Tom Holland for Spider-Man: Homecoming. The newbie actor said he was "shaking in his shoes" through the audition.
Batalon was told by the casting director that he'd find out in two weeks, but the man who would go on to play Ned Leeds had a long wait ahead of him, just like his eventual Homecoming co-star Holland. "Another two weeks go by," said Batalon, "you hear nothing. Basically, two-and-a-half months go by and I'm like, 'Wow, this is the most depressing life period of my life.'"
That period ended on May 6, 2016, a date that altered the course of Batalon's life so dramatically he caused a public scene that he feared might get him arrested. While Batalon was walking through Bryant Park in New York, his manager called and told him "You're it, man. They're gonna make you Ned." As Batalon recalled, "I'm like, 'sir, thank you so much. I love you so much.' And I hung up the phone. I started crying, I started screaming, I started yelling and running down the sidewalk. All these people are staring at me like whether or not to celebrate or call the police on me. It was crazy as hell."