×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Spider-Man: Homecoming director talks about the movie's diversity

The third iteration of the web-slinging hero will feel markedly more true to life. According to Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts, diversity was at the forefront of the casting and story development processes.

ScreenRant spoke with Watts during a set visit back in August, and he talked all things Homecoming. From his previous work on films like Cop Car to how he crafted the perfect pitch for the upcoming blockbuster film, the interview touched upon multiple subjects, few more intriguing than how he cast the actors in Homecoming. As Watts puts it, the process was "colorblind" and took on an organic frame of mind.

Watts explained that because the creatives behind the project wanted to build a world that felt realistic and grounded, race and ethnicity weren't factors in casting. Everyone, "like any kid ever," had a shot to be a part of the new Spider-Man story, even if there wasn't a role made just for them.

"We just put [the actors] on tape and sometimes it was, there were some situations were a kid was just great and there wasn't a specific role for them, but because it's a high school, we can have so many kids... it was an opportunity to be like, 'Well this kid is great, we don't have a specific role for them, but maybe we should create a small role for them or think of a way to incorporate them in some other capacity.'"

Because the Homecoming team kept "an open mind" to look for the best kids while the story and script were still under development, there was much more freedom to explore actors of all backgrounds. He described the overall process as very reminiscent of what happened with Judd Apatow's 1990s cult classic (and painfully short-lived) series Freaks and Geeks.

"I think I remember reading that's how Judd Apatow did Freaks and Geeks, where they just sort of looked for kids that were interesting and then shaped the roles around them," Watts said. "A great thing about kids is they're just themselves and can't help it a lot of the times. So to be able to craft roles around these kids is better than trying to force someone into a preconceived role."

Watts also said diversity was a main focus in his pitch for Homecoming. While other cinematic takes on Spider-Man, most notably the Tobey Maguire-led 2002 original, have been "very, very bleached," Watts' has a real-world look and feel.

"The very first thing I made was a look book of what I wanted the world to look like, and what the kids should look like, and what the high school should look like. I lived in New York for 13 years, and it should look like a school in New York. It shouldn't look like a school in the Midwest in the 50s," Watts said. "I pulled a bunch of pictures of kids and documentary photos of kids in schools, and that was part of my pitch and everyone was really into that and followed through with the casting, which is so, so cool. I love the kids."

Fans can catch the diverse new take on the web-slinging vigilante when Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7. In the meantime, check out the insane history of the friendly neighborhood hero.