Press for Spider-Man: No Way Home is underway, and at a press event in London, Tom Holland confirmed he will be playing Fred Astaire in a new biopic of the legendary singer-dancer-actor.
Amy Pascal, ousted as the chief of Sony after the hack, but still producing major products for the studio—is Hollywood the only place where you get fired and as a result end up with a cushier job?—including this Fred Astaire biopic. Pascal mentioned Holland playing Astaire in Holland’s recent GQ profile, and now Holland has confirmed it. It’s REALLY good casting. No, he doesn’t look much like Fred Astaire, but Tom Holland got his start dancing in the West End stage adaptation of Billy Elliot, and, well, we’ve all seen him dance thanks to his appearance on Lip Sync Battle. There’s no question he can handle the dancing, at least well enough to sell it convincingly on screen. Astaire was an incredible talent, I don’t expect ANYONE to dance as well as he did, but Holland is one of the best options out there for a decent approximation. Besides being able to dance, Holland has a similar spriteliness of spirit on screen.
Interestingly, there is a persistent urban legend that Fred Astaire stipulated in his will that he not be depicted on film after his death, something his widow, Robyn Smith Astaire, contravened when she allowed the vacuum company, Dirt Devil, to digitally alter film of Astaire dancing to show him twirling with a vacuum in a 1997 commercial. (I won’t link it, it’s ghoulish. Actors should be allowed to permanently retire their likeness upon their death, and yes, this WILL turn into a big trademark fight with ever-evolving CG-capabilities making “reviving” dead actors more and more realistic.) Even more interestingly, before cashing in with Dirt Devil, Robyn prevented the Kennedy Center from using clips including Astaire during a 1992 ceremony to honor Ginger Rogers. EVEN MORE INTERESTINGLY, Robyn was the first female jockey to win a stakes race in 1973 and was less than half Astaire’s age when they married in 1980. We need a whole separate biopic of Robyn Smith Astaire, she is living a LIFE.
This biopic is in its infancy, with only just having a completed script, and no director on board. Since we’ll have months and months, if not years, to wait this out, let’s spend our time debating who should play Ginger Rogers. I’ll start: Saoirse Ronan.
You know the rules, if you invoke the Tom Holland Lip Sync Battle, you have to post the clip in full.
Attached – Tom and Zendaya in London yesterday.