Zendaya is hot off her busy spring, starring in Dune: Part Two and Challengers, and now it’s Tom Holland’s turn in the spotlight. (Celebrity couples build better longevity when they take turns being center stage: discuss.) 

 

Kathleen once dubbed them “Tomdaya”, which still sounds like a disease to me, but this is the portmanteau that stuck (RIP Zendalland). Well, here are Tomdaya on the opening night of Romeo & Juliet in London’s West End (reviews are mixed), starring Tom as Romeo, and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as Juliet. With his short hair, Tom looks especially Jamie Bell, and I LOVE Z’s Eighties-esque gown. She’s Lydia Deetz coded!

 

Opening night brought out the other British MCU power couple, Tom Hiddleston and Zawe Ashton. Do we think they’re friends with Tomdaya? Or is it just that both Tom and Zawe are staunch supporters of the London theater scene? They are most often seen at theater-related events these days. Also, what is their portmanteau? Tawe? Jeremy O. Harris was also there, as was Succession star Arian Moayed.

It’s 2024 and people are extremely chill, so casting a white guy with a dark-skinned Black actress as Romeo and Juliet has been widely accepted and there are no problems. LOL, just kidding, it’s a huge racist mess. 

 

Ever since the casting of this new production was announced, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers has been deluged with a storm of racist vitriol. Hundreds of Black creatives have supported her, and the theater company behind the production, Jamie Lloyd Company, issued a statement in her defense, too.

 

Tom Holland has remained silent, at least publicly. Perhaps he has been supportive behind the scenes, and perhaps he feels that is how he can be most effective, by supporting Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in person, while they’ve been in rehearsals. Perhaps he feels the work will speak for itself, and once people see the play, and how presumably good Amewudah-Rivers is, they’ll lay off. And perhaps as the partner of a famous Black woman, he knows how pointless it is to engage with online hate. 

But STILL. He’s the one with the power and the platform, he could throw up a shield for Amewudah-Rivers, much as Ewan McGregor did for Moses Ingram. It wouldn’t stop racists being racists, but it might mute the vitriol a little bit. At the very least, it would be a public demonstration of support for his co-star, rather than leaving her standing alone amidst the furor, which is a bad look for anyone, let alone a superhero.

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