Spider-Man: No Way Home star Tom Holland has explained why his Marvel Cinematic Universe colleague Jon Bernthal once gave him a good slap. Don’t worry, it wasn’t Bernthal going full method, and thinking he was The Punisher taking on Spider-Man, Holland actually wanted him to hit him.
Holland revealed this during a Hot Ones interview for First We Feast. The team behind the heinous hot sauce challenge had discovered a picture buried on Holland’s Instagram of him and Bernthal, and they wanted to know the backstory to the picture. Holland explained that he met Bernthal – who he described as “one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met”- during the filming of the medieval action movie Pilgrimage.
To get in character for a stressful scene, Holland asked that Bernthal “rough him up”. “Sometimes, as an actor, if you’re doing a scene that requires, like, real stress, I find it quite helpful if someone kind of roughs me up a little bit,” Holland explained. “And I said to Jon, ‘Mate, before the scene, could you just rough me up a bit? Just scare me a little bit, please.’ And he was like, ‘Nah, man, I don’t wanna do that. You’re my little brother. I love you, man.'”
Understanding why Bernthal might not want to smack his co-star about Holland let the matter drop. When the camera’s started rolling, however, Bernthal surprised Holland with a slap to the face that Barbra Windsor would be proud of.
“It was great,” Holland laughed. “It worked so well for the scene, but he just didn’t want me to know it was coming. He properly cracked me one. I look back on that as a very fond experience, and meeting him was one of the highlights. We haven’t had the chance to work together since, but I would love to.”
While the pair may reunite for another adventure movie in the future, their MCU characters are unlikely to meet. While Kevin Feige has confirmed that the Netflix Marvel characters are finally making the leap to the MCU proper, starting with Charlie Cox’s Daredevil (and maybe Echo’s uncle in Hawkeye) but Bernthal’s slightly resistant to come back.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he was asked how he felt about the Punisher appearing in a PG-13 film. He replied by saying he felt quite protective of Frank Castle and believes the character requires a certain level of darkness that might not fit with the more family-friendly tone of the MCU.
View this post on Instagram
“It needs to be a level of darkness. I think if there’s any let up on that character, you do a disservice to the character,” he explained. “To every iteration of the character, to every comic book that’s come before, and to all of the unbelievable fans of the character.”