Nineteen-year-old British actor Tom Holland demonstrated his knack for performing in the title role of “Billy Elliot the Musical” on the London stage, and caught critics’ eyes in 2012’s “The Impossible” alongside Naomi Watts. In May, he takes a super step, playing Spider-Man in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” But first, this month, he shows his physical endurance as a cabin boy aboard the doomed whaling ship Essex in Ron Howard’s “In the Heart of the Sea.”
What attracted you to “In the Heart of the Sea”?
The character Thomas Nickerson was so detailed and so different from anything I’ve done before. (And co-star) Chris Hemsworth — I was always a huge fan of “Thor.” The icing on the cake was (director) Ron Howard.
What does your character do to try to survive?
Everything. This film demonstrates survival is the most powerful instinct man possesses. My character eats his own friend. It’s pretty horrific what those poor men went through.
What did you eat to portray someone starving?
A lot of quinoa, which is a nightmare. Little bits of chicken. Sometimes porridge, if we were lucky. We’d have a boiled egg every day. Eventually it got down to about 500 calories a day.
What was the first thing you ate afterwards?
Ron took us to this really fancy restaurant — and we basically just wanted burgers and pizza. So we ate all these crazy rich foods, and all got ridiculous stomachaches.
I have countless Spider-Man costumes at home. Two years ago, I (went) to a fancy party dressed as Spider-Man, so it’s always been a dream of mine to portray this character.