What The Spider-Man: Homecoming Director Made The Cast Watch Before Filming

Ned and Peter Parker at lunch in Spider-Man: Homecoming

It's an interesting time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Phase Three continues to deliver box office and critical darlings, the world of the MCU is being expanded in new ways. One way this expansion is happening is by exploring new locations within the MCU, and the highly anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming will bring the action to Queens, NY. Homecoming will introduce a different perspective on the shared universe, showing how average folks live within an extraordinary world. But the film will also focus on teenagers in the MCU, and director Jon Watts had the cast watch some very specific movies and TV for research.

CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell was at the Spider-Man: Homecoming set visit, where director Jon Watts addressed the press. During this chat, Watts revealed the projects that he made the young cast of the film watch for background purposes.

I just wanted them to get the spirit of those movies and know it was okay to be goofy and be a teen. The John Hughes movies, I love Say Anything, I made them watch that, but just being okay to be kind of a weirdo or to be sillier I think. I wanted them to be comfortable to do that and to be awkward. I made them watch Freaks and Geeks too.

Well this is super exciting. If Spider-Man: Homecoming is anything like Freaks and Geeks, we're definitely going to get a whole new type of superhero movie for the MCU. Which may be exactly what the universe needs.

While there have been quite a few silver screen version of Spider-Man, he never actually felt like a high school student. Both Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield were well into their twenties by the time they booked the job, and the focus has rarely been on life inside Peter's High School. Spider-Man: Homecoming will surely set itself apart by featuring a far more youthful (and diverse) cast, and by showing what its like to be a kid in a world where Iron Man flies through the sky and New York was nearly destroyed by an alien invasion.

And because Peter goes to a school for gifted kids, the characters won't be the super models we're used to seeing in Hollywood High School stories. Instead, the students and teachers will look like real people (with the exception of Tom Holland's ripped body). And in order for the cast to embrace their inner geek, they had to watch Say Anything and Freaks and Geeks, projects that encourage their protagonists to let their freak flag fly. Plus, no one does High School better than John Hughes.

With this focus on teenage awkwardness, Spider-Man: Homecoming may be one of the most comedic installments in the MCU to date. So it looks like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 finally has some competition.

Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into theaters on July 7, 2017. Be sure to check out our full 2017 release list, and plan your next trip to the movies accordingly.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.