Jacob Batalon made a major impression in Spider-Man: Homecoming before the movie even dropped, thanks to his character’s hilarious in-trailer reaction to finding out BFF Peter Parker is actually Spider-Man. Once Homecoming was released, the Hawaiian actor’s lovably nerdy and enthusiastic Ned was confirmed as one of the standout elements in a movie already teeming with wonderful stuff. In follow-up Far From Home, Ned took a more active role in the proceedings and solidified his status as a fan-favorite.
Batalon was a virtual unknown prior to jumping aboard the Sony/Marvel train, and it’s safe to say he’s turned his breakout role into a major moment by loading up the subsequent years with interesting work. Aside from ensuring he’s a screen fixture for the foreseeable future, regardless of what happens with Peter Parker et al. Batalon is turning heads for his impressive body transformation, which signals leading man status is also on the way.
Spider-Man was Jacob Batalon's first audition ever
Spider-Man: Homecoming was Batalon’s first audition ever, although he didn’t realize it at the time. As Inverse notes, the casting call simply required a supporting character for a Marvel movie who, race, age, and body type aside, could convincingly play a teenager. Batalon put himself on tape, and soon he was summoned to California for screen tests with Peter Parker himself, Tom Holland. Thankfully, the two clicked immediately and even roomed together for a while.
Batalon knew he’d “made it” when, while doing a press tour in South Korea, a fan approached him with a box of discontinued cereal Oreo O’s, which thankfully remained available there even if they weren’t elsewhere. Batalon recalled, “I was genuinely shocked. I hadn’t seen that cereal since I was, like, 7, and they just go, ‘Here, take my cereal.'”
Jacob Batalon has learned a lot from Ned
As Batalon told Inverse, Ned finding a love interest in Far From Home didn’t surprise him as much as it did audiences because “Ned is just undeterred. His best friend is Spider-Man, you know what I mean? He feels like he can take on the world.” The Honolulu native is inspired by his most famous character. “Ned’s really affected my life,” he admitted in an interview with Indiewire. “He’s so bubbly and so open that, in reality now, I’m so much more happier. And that’s been a really good thing for me.”
Batalon was wrapping up film school while simultaneously waiting to hear back on whether he got the part that would change his life forever. The actor was panicking about what his next step would be if he didn’t get Ned, assuming he probably wasn’t going to. He revealed that when the good news finally came, he felt relieved more than anything else.
Scaling up so fast blew Jacob Batalon's mind
Considering he went straight from film school to appearing in a massive blockbuster, Batalon didn’t have much time to get used to his new reality. As he explained in an interview with Teen Vogue, “The most surprising thing was just how big of a scale and level Marvel and Hollywood movies are compared to doing an independent movie. Everyone works just as hard, but it’s just crazy.” Likewise, filming everywhere from London to Prague made his head spin, because, “I was not expecting to do these things at such a young age.”
As the Hawaiian actor acknowledged, “Just my experience from doing nothing in drama school to all of a sudden being in London, filming the scene on the Tower Bridge [was crazy].” Especially considering, growing up, he hadn’t seen himself represented onscreen aside from maybe in Hawaii Five-0 and Jackie Chan movies.
Jacob Batalon totally changed his look
The actor hasn’t made his weight part of the discussion in interviews thus far but to mark his 24th birthday, the actor took to Instagram to share his remarkable weight loss. “Don’t try to get at me..imma be vibin all day,” he wrote. Batalon also noted, “By the way, while I appreciate the concern, people can stop telling me to lose weight now.” He previously told ComicBook how much he’s missing working and being on set with everyone, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I feel like I’ve spent the entire year just like everyone else, not really working, per se. I would love to just work on something in general,” he admitted, sharing how much he misses being on set. Batalon added, “I really just want to work and be productive and just see my friends again … I’m definitely really anxious to work again.” Although the Spider-Man star is looking forward to getting back to it, he’s evidently been busy working hard at his health in the time he’s had away.
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