“I'm in love with Tom Holland, you know what I mean? That’s my dude," Bernthal said.
"For me, it’s not about — I have no aspirations or desire to do anything besides what I'm doing. I love this character, I believe in him, he’s in my bones, I feel honored to play him, and I want to keep playing him," Bernthal explained.
"So in all honesty, there’s no part of me that says, 'Oh, I hope I’m in the movies.' It's whatever it’ll be. That being said, there's one character and one actor that I just have the utmost respect for in the Marvel Universe and without a question it's Tom," Bernthal said.
"He’s equal parts a good person as a great actor, and he does all that stuff himself, he’s a sick athlete, he’s got a great family and I think the world of him."
Bernthal and Holland co-starred in period drama Pilgrimage, where the two future Marvel stars participated in audition tapes for the actors' respective roles.
“I can’t say enough good things about Tom,” Bernthal said in an April interview with Variety. “He’s got strength and talent and fortitude that’s not only remarkable for someone his age, but for someone period.”
“We were all part of him nailing and tracking down the Spider-Man role. We got to see his determination. I’ve never seen anything like that — how hard he fought for it — and that’s how he approaches his work everyday.”
Bernthal helped read for Holland's Captain America: Civil War audition tapes, and Holland played a young boy in a mock scene serving as Bernthal's audition for Netflix original series The Punisher.
The gun-toting anti-hero first appeared in a 1974 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, when the then-killer-for-hire targeted Spider-Man on assignment. The characters have since formed an uneasy alliance, often working together despite their opposing views on killing.
Bernthal will return in The Punisher season 2, officially confirmed by Netflix. Holland next appears as the web-slinger in Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 sequel Avengers 4.
Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4. All episodes of The Punisher are available for streaming on Netflix.