The story of how young actor Tom Holland got the role of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty well documented at this point. However, Holland was recently reminiscing about his time as Spider-Man in a promotional interview for his upcoming threequel, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and he recalled one fun detail of the casting process: being told he wasn't good looking enough to be Marvel's Spider-Man. Yes, the lovable face of Peter Parker known and adored around the world was one that Holland himself was once told – to his face – was too ugly for a mask!
While appearing on the UK's Graham Norton Show, Holland remembers how he "flew out to Atlanta multiple times for different screen tests" to play Spider-Man. It was on the way to his last audition that the actor ended up getting into one of those "cabbies from hell" experiences that nearly sank his confidence:
"When I was going for my last audition, I was driving, I was very nervous, and I had this driver – lovely guy – but a little bit too honest? And he's sort of sitting there in the car, and he's chatting to me, chatting to me, chatting to me, and you know I'm a polite person, but I also want to be like 'Mate please shut up, I'm trying to learn my line.' And he's looking at me in the mirror and he's doing that thing [pretends to adjust rearview mirror] and he's like 'Yeah,' and he's sort of sitting there really awkward looking at me. And he goes, 'You know what kid, I think you're going to get it.' And I'm like 'Really?! Why?!' And I was excited to hear that. He goes 'You know what? I think you're going to get it because the kid that I just drove there? He is so good-looking. [laughter]"
Naturally, Holland was horrified by the exchange, but the driver did have a sort of wisdom in his claim – or he's just a really hardcore Spider-Man fan. Peter Parker's entire story is of how he's not the cool kid or good-looking when he begins his journey as Spider-Man – and how he later has to retain that downtrodden persona even when he has the power to look like a much bigger deal if he wants.
It was one of few criticisms about Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker: that Amazing Spider-Man franchise of the 2010s leaned too heavily on the idea that 'geek is the new cool.' That's all to say: Marvel and Sony probably had internal discussions of how much of a traditional heartthrob they wanted in MCU Peter Parker; after all, it's pretty clear that Tom Holland was ultimately more of a "boy next door" choice.
At the end of the clip, Holland reveals that he ran into that same driver month later after becoming Spider-Man. Not surprisingly, the man was just as bold in his flex that he had lent some kind of luck to Holland by calling the casting early. For his part, Holland wasn't as sure about that particular tipping of the cosmic scale: "What did you tell me?" he asked the driver. "That I was gonna get the part, or that I was ugly?"