Tom Holland is everywhere these days—including New Jersey.
The 25-year-old, most famous for playing Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, made a surprise visit to South Orange over President’s Day Weekend for a private screening of his latest box office-topping action-adventure, Uncharted, at The Village at South Orange Performing Arts Center.
“I didn’t know there would be quite as many people, I would have made more of an effort with my dress sense, I’m sorry” joked the English actor, who wore a black beanie, hoodie, baggie khakis and sneakers while addressing the screening’s audience.
Of the film, he said, “We made this against all the odds, we were the first film up and running during this pandemic and it was a real uphill battle, but we did it. We put our heart and soul into it.”
Cinema Lab, which helps small, local theaters like the one in South Orange, shared a video of Holland and Uncharted director Ruben Fleischer engaging with the audience before the screening. In the flick, an adaptation of a popular treasure-hunting video game series, Holland plays Nathan Drake. But that didn’t stop fans from referring to him as the world’s most popular wall-crawler. “Hi Spider-Man!” one theatergoer was heard yelling after Holland was introduced.
The “Uncharted” screening was held for Fleisher’s family and friends; the director recently moved to Montclair.
We’re told that at the screening, Holland grabbed himself some popcorn, made his introduction, and watched 15-20 minutes of the film from the back of the theater. He signed some Spider-Man posters before leaving, Vincenzo Onorati, Cinema Lab’s head of operations, tells New Jersey Monthly.
“To see Tom show up on a Saturday afternoon in South Orange was quite a thrill,” Onorati says. “It was really nice of him to do that.”
Holland has been on a roll lately. He and a handful of other Marvel franchise favorites teamed up in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the highest-grossing movie of 2021 and, as of now, 2022. Onorati also credited the record-breaking Spider-Man with “saving the industry,” following and during multiple waves of Covid-19.
Uncharted, meanwhile, led the box office over the holiday weekend. Holland’s Drake is a thief who works alongside Mark Whalberg’s Victor “Sully” Sullivan. The two spend the movie defying death while searching for Magellan’s $5 billion fortune. The Sony Pictures film, which also stars Antonio Banderas, was released on February 18.
Cinema Lab was founded in Montclair a few years ago by Onorati, The Conjuring star Patrick Wilson and Luke Parker Bowles. Wilson, a longtime Montclair resident, recently held a screening of his own blockbuster, Moonfall co-starring Halle Berry, in South Orange. Fleisher attended that screening, and that series of events led to Holland swinging his way into South Orange.
After seeing a room full of shocked kids take in Holland’s in-person cameo, Cinema Lab is eager to host more private and VIP screenings in the future. “Because of our relationships, we do have some connections in the industry,” Onorati says. “We like to use them strategically.
“We’ll do more of these throughout the year.”
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