New York

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming' Actor Went Undercover at Bronx High School of Science

One of New York City's elite public high schools had "Spider-Man: Homecoming" star Tom Holland quietly crawling in their midst as he prepared for his role in the blockbuster comic movie. 

Holland was sent undercover to The Bronx High School of Science last year to study for his role as a teen genius from Queens attending the fictional but similarly themed Midtown School of Science and Technology in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," according to Business Insider. 

Marvel Studios contacted the school -- one of the top-ranked and most competitive in the country -- and administrators arranged to have Holland shadow a senior student, Arun Bishop, the captain of the school's robotics team.

"I've never been huge on celebrities. I never followed that sort of stuff," Bishop told Business Insider. "But I thought it'd be a really cool experience."  

Bishop met Holland in the courtyard outside school one day in February 2016, and the two reviewed their back story (Marvel wanted the British actor to have as authentic an experience as possible, so he had to go undercover): Holland, using an American accent, would introduce himself as Bishop's cousin Ben, whose military dad was recently stationed to New York. 

Only a few teachers and administrators knew "Ben's" true identity, and Holland even got his own Bronx Science ID card to swipe into school. 

Holland shadowed Bishop through classes that included Advanced Placement physics; linear algebra and differential equations; experimental engineering; AP calculus AB; AP English literature; and AP microeconomics. 

"I felt a little bad for him, having to go through my entire schedule," Bishop told Business Insider. "If you don't know what's going on, those 40-minute classes must be boring." 

But Holland had his fun, too. He recounted on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" sitting in the back of the class one day next to a girl who turned to him and asked, "So what's your deal, man?"

"'Well, do you want to know my secret? I'm actually 'Spider-Man,'" Holland said he told her.

"'Dude, you're not Spider-Man. You're nuts,'" the girl replied, according to Holland.

"'No, seriously, I'm an actor, I'm British, I'm playing Spider-Man,'" Holland insisted. "She didn't believe me." 

Bishop confirmed to Business Insider: "It was crazy; nobody recognized him."

Holland told Kimmel, "Bronx Science is a school for genius kids -- and I am no genius. Even the teachers didn't know that I was not a real student, so they would bring me up to the front of the class and be like, 'What do you think, new kid?' And I'd be like, 'I have no idea what you're talking about.'" 

Bishop, now a rising sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, says, "It's weird now when I see him in a commercial or something. There's a disassociation where my brain knows I've talked to this guy and shown him around school, but seeing him on the screen is different." 

Bronx Science is one of the most competitive high schools in the country, and counts among its long list of notable alumni eight Nobel Prize winners, the celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and "Spider-Man: Homecoming's" own Jon Favreau. 

"Spider-Man" Homecoming" grossed a massive $117 million in its opening weekend. 

Contact Us