Everything that's been released so far about Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios' upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming film has shown an impressive range of diversity among the cast. Its level of inclusion and representation is something not seen often enough in superhero films -- or movies in general -- and has not gone unnoticed before its July release.
It was a topic that came up more than once during a press conference for the film, attended by the Spider-Man: Homecoming cast and crew on Sunday in New York City.
Actor Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), who plays Flash Thompson in the film, discussed how it felt to represent the Latino community in the well-known comic book franchise.
“It's wonderful," Revolori, who is American of Guatemala descent, told reporters including CBR. "I think the fact that when you see the film, there’s not a single line of exposition as to explain why I look the way I look and I think that’s wonderful that I just am in the movie. It’s not about being a certain race, it’s not about doing anything. I think that’s the kind of diversity we need in Hollywood now.”
Flash Thompson was created by Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and dates back to 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15; the first appearance of Spidey himself. The character has traditionally been portrayed as white, and initially a bully tormenting Peter Parker, but the role was updated in multiple ways for Homecoming; the latest in multiple notable instances in film and TV of actors of diverse backgrounds cast in roles that depart from the comic book source material.
Following Revolori's comments, the next question at the press conference also concerned diversity -- specifically, how characters, such as Flash, had their race changed, how the filmmakers dealt with it, and what the inspiration was for these changes. Once the question was finished being asked, producer and former Sony exec Amy Pascal quickly spoke up.
“I would say the inspiration for it was reality,” she replied succinctly, followed by Robert Downey Jr. adding “a last resort” as everyone clapped for Pascal’s answer.
It really is the perfect response, and impossible to argue. It's encouraging that the real-world is something the producers were looking to when casting, and Pascal’s response gives hope that reality will continue to serve as casting inspiration in even more genre films going forward. It remains to be seen if a future live-action Spider-Man movie will include Miles Morales, the popular half-Black and half-Latino Spider-Man introduced in the comic books in 2011, but Miles will be the main character of an upcoming Spider-Man animated film from Sony, scheduled for release in Dec. 2018.
Directed by Jon Watts and starring Tom Holland, Spider-Man: Homecoming will be released July 7 -- the second appearance of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following last year's Captain America: Civil War.