Tom Holland to star as Fred Astaire in upcoming biopic, but Astaire didn’t want that

Last week, we heard that Tom Holland has been signed on for three more Spider-Man movies. It seems as though there may be some more depth to that arrangement, which we will discuss below. However, it also looks like Tom will continue to branch out, as he has been, by working on different types of projects. It was just confirmed that Tom will star as Fred Astaire in a biopoc on the hoofer from Sony. Since Tom hasn’t even seen the script at this point, there’s little to know about the project. Even with the precious few facts we have, it’s off to a good start

Tom Holland will soon be dancing in a Hollywood icon’s shoes.

While speaking with the Associated Press at an event on Sunday evening for his upcoming film, Spider-Man: No Way Home — which is set to premiere in theaters on Dec. 17 — the 25-year-old actor noted that he will star as Fred Astaire in an upcoming biopic for Sony.

“The script came in a week ago,” Holland told the publication. “I haven’t read it yet, they haven’t given it to me.”

Holland’s revelation came after Spider-Man producer and former Sony chief Amy Pascal detailed to GQ that she wanted the actor to star in the role. “There are very few actors working now who are versatile in the way that he is,” she told the magazine last month. “And he’s the hardest-working person that I know.”

“She FaceTimed me earlier. I was in the bath,” Holland added to the AP of Pascal, 63, with a laugh. “And we had a lovely FaceTime, but I will be playing Fred Astaire.”

[From People]

I can believe Tom as Astaire. He has the grace and agility to pull it off. The look isn’t quite right, but I think if Tom can get Astaire’s manner down – his essence – I can overlook the facial disparities. Astaire started his career at a very early age and lived into his 80s, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of his life they cover. I wonder if they will “old” Tom up with makeup and prosthetics? Astaire looked amazing right up until the end. And because Tom can dance, we know that will be a huge part of the movie. That, of course, is what I am looking forward to. I’ll admit, the reason I’m not jumping up and down is because Fred Astaire famously forbade his life ever being made into a movie. He had it written into his will. So how did this come about? I guess whoever holds the rights was convinced by $$$ony this was worth it. At least they cast the right guy to do him justice.

Until we hear more about the Astaire project, we still have the Spider-Man projects to keep us in Tom. Tom’s recent comments about the Sony/Marvel deal are interesting because he’s not confirming that he’s fronting those films. He said he’s connected to them, but it will be whatever’s best for the role. So maybe he becomes the ‘Iron Man’ to the next Spider Man or Woman or maybe he’s in the suit himself, it’s whatever the story needs. That makes me feel better. As long as there’s a natural evolution of his character and it doesn’t just feel like they’re wringing the towel dry just because we all love Tom so much. Speaking of, Kaiser mentioned Tom on Graham Norton where he was as entertaining as always. He also told a great story about a cab driver slapping him with a major backhanded compliment right before he walked into his final audition for Spider-Man while he was there as well. It’s really funny.

And since I know this will come up because we are talking about Tom and dancing, here you go, my loves:



Photo credit: Avalon Red

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

44 Responses to “Tom Holland to star as Fred Astaire in upcoming biopic, but Astaire didn’t want that”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Irene says:

    Fred’s wife (if still alive) holds the rights which infuriated his daughter.

    She forbade footage of Fred and Ginger Rodgers being used in the early 90s for a tribute to Ginger but in 1999 allowed Dirt Devil to use digital technology to make it appear as though Astaire was dancing with a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner.

    His daughter is going to be livid with this film.

    • Snuffles says:

      I just Googled. His wife is younger than his daughter. 🤭

      If she approved his image in a Dyson commercial, I’m not going to be outraged by a biopic. I think Tom will do an excellent job. Maybe the wife believes so as well. I’m happy Tom will be able to branch out from just being Spider-Man. I’m guessing this will be done before his next Spider-Man movie.

  2. Anna222 says:

    Umbrella was his audition, obviously

    • LaUnicaAngelina says:

      Haha yep! He’s amazing in that clip.

    • Duchessl says:

      Tom in lypsync battle is legendary, i could never forget and he can have any dancing role. That was bomb!!! He makes my #1 list along with jenna dewan

      • InVain says:

        Tom and Jenna were both amazing. However, I think Joseph Gordon Levitt will always be my number one from LSB. If you haven’t watched his video, please look it up!!

        Love Tom as Spider-Man and can’t wait to him in this and other big projects to come.

      • Duchessl says:

        JGL was great indeed @InVain

      • Normades says:

        Yea..Tom is the GOT of LSB but Jenna is the runner up. Hers is so good.

    • Drea says:

      Let’s not forget that he starred in Billy Elliott.

  3. Tanguerita says:

    I have NEVER not watched this video when it came across my timeline. Still mesmerizing.

  4. Abby says:

    Thanks for sharing his lip sync battle video. He won that show, forever.

  5. Noki says:

    And if he finds the script to be trash,he will back out?

    • Snuffles says:

      He can always ask for a rewrite. Happens all the time.

    • Mia4s says:

      He definitely can. It sounds like he’s “attached” to the project….which leads to tons of breathless articles across the Internet!…and then potentially absolutely nothing when the script cannot be worked out and/or the actor moves on for a million and one reasons. This does sound interesting but we are a looooooong way from it actually happening.

  6. Jezz says:

    He is tiny and delicate but also sexy. He’s perfect!

  7. Sofia says:

    I hope he doesn’t burnout. He seemed pretty exhausted in the GQ interview. Maybe he just needs a break from the Marvel films and not films in general.

  8. Space Geek says:

    Oh my gosh, that video was just what I needed today. I haven’t seen it for so long I forgot that I can’t watch it just once.

  9. Case says:

    I think Tom is a great choice for this role. He’s charismatic and a professionally trained dancer.

    • Jess says:

      Yep! I mean, it’s kind of a no-brainer because he can tap dance (specifically classical soft shoe), which would be difficult to fake or even learn in a few months time. He’ll be great in it 🙂

  10. AmyB says:

    I first saw Tom Holland and Zendaya in that epic lip sync battle a few years ago!! Holy crap – Zendaya was awesome, no doubt, but Tom just came in and blew everything out of the water with his rendition of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” Damn, that man can dance!!! Later I saw his background as Billy Elliot and in ballet, gymnastics, dancing. I think he would be great in this role, but I hope there isn’t backlash with the Astaire family. Of course, if there are legal rights, that’s different of course! I personally find Tom so incredibly endearing, charming and super talented in so many ways!

  11. Acal says:

    I just don’t know how they are going to get around the will. The dirt devil thing was different as that was from a movie vs a biopic.

    A lot of times Hollywood makes these big splashy announcements to try and pressure the rights holders or to sell it to funders. Only to have it change to ‘inspired by’ or they cance the project because they couldn’t get the rights. See the Joan Rivers project. Big announcement of the casting of Kathryn Hahn as their big get-then canceled the project because the backers and producers hadn’t gotten the rights from Melissa and the family.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      The will has never been made public, which I find curious. I would have thought it would have been probated. The few quotes I found about it sound like he expressed his wishes, but that might have been what we in the business call “precatory language,” meaning that it states the testator’s preference but is not legally binding. Most importantly, if his wife was his beneficiary, then she inherited control over his property, including rights to his likeness & work. So I think the biopic is more likely to happen than not.

  12. Pilar says:

    Tom is a really gifted athlete. Also a good actor. I think he will be fine. He doesn’t have to look exactly like Astaire. Marion cottilard looked nothing like Piaf. Renee zellwegger looked nothing like Judy Garland. It’s better they go for an actor who can do the job then someone who looks like the historical person.

    • Sudie says:

      Totally agree @Pilar. Just what I said on the Nicole Kidman thread. Everyone giving her hell because she doesn’t look like Lucy but she’s a great actress and can do the job of portraying Lucy, same with Tom.

  13. Bella says:

    I love dancing and my favorites are Astaire and Gene Kelly. Fun fact: Fred Astaire started off dancing with his sister, Adela, who was also a great dancer.

    • greenmonster says:

      Watching Gene Kelly dance is everything 🙂 I think Tom Holland could have been an excellent Kelly. Not sure what to think about this movie if Fred Astaire even put it in his will that he doesn’t want Hollywood to make a movie about him.

      • Sankay says:

        Agree with you. He’d make a great Gene Kelly since he was an athletic dancer. Astaire was tall and lithe. I adore TL but he is short. I’m sure he’ll do okay if he nails the mannerisms though.

      • InVain says:

        Astaire was 5’9”… I don’t consider that tall. I guess he’s all relative. Tom will be more than passable if height is the only concern.

      • windyriver says:

        It’s not about height, as @Sankay notes; they had different styles. You can see a similar contrast between Kelly and Donald O’Connor in that great tap sequence they do in Singin’ in the Rain.

        That said, there’s an article from a few months ago that’s a retrospective of the Lip Sync piece, where they interview the choreographer, etc describing how it all came about. A main point was, Tom didn’t just want to dress female and do the steps, he wanted to execute the choreography as a woman would, which is a little different. And he definitely did that – you can see it, and that’s what makes the performance so great.

        So, based on that there’s a good chance Tom can do a reasonable job as Astaire! Who was, also, a sharp dresser – that should be fun…

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ greenmonster, Watching Gene Kelly dance was seeing magic with your own eyes!!!! I thought Kelly was a brilliant dancer and actor, whereas I had the feeling that Astaire was much more aggressive when he danced with Rogers or anyone else. I’m not saying he wasn’t a great dancer he just came off as chauvinistic. I hope that makes sense.

      • BeanieBean says:

        I was thinking he more resembles Gene Kelly than Fred Astaire, but he is more physically slight like Fred; Gene was more built like an athlete, a baseball player maybe.

  14. Eurydice says:

    I’ve watched that video about a thousand times – he’s so talented. But, if Fred didn’t want a biopic, then I don’t want one, either. Fred’s films are all out there for everyone to see – nobody can compare.

    • windyriver says:

      Interestingly, the movie Royal Wedding, which Astaire starred in, is something of a biopic. He and Jane Powell play an extremely well known brother and sister act, they go to England, she falls in love with and marries an aristocrat…which is what happened to Adele. Interestingly, their last performance as a brother/sister team was in the play the Bandwagon – and Fred later starred in the film of the same name.

  15. lunchcoma says:

    Fred Astaire’s will stating that he should not be portrayed in a film about his life doesn’t mean no one can make one. At most, it means that the beneficiaries of his estate aren’t allowed to cooperate with the film.

    You can presumably make a film about Fred Astaire without the cooperation of of his daughter or access to his private letters based on documents that are already public and interviews with his friends and coworkers. The wife he married when he was 81 probably doesn’t have anything very relevant to share about the period of his life that would interest filmmakers anyway. The music he danced to can likely be licensed. The dance steps wouldn’t be copyrighted.

    People might decide the film is disrespectful and decide to avoid it, but you don’t get to unilaterally block anyone from making a movie about you in any way after your death. If that were possible, every famous person with an unflattering personal history would put that sort of provision in their will.

  16. Sof says:

    I saw the bit of Graham Norton in which they showed him drinking coffe with the suit on… Zendaya is right, they need to do something about those suits!
    He is a great performer, can pull Astaire off for sure.

  17. Kathy Kack says:

    I am OBSESSED with this video!!!

  18. jferber says:

    I just can’t see this actor in this role. Why would he even want to do this? As a former high school teacher, I can assure you most people don’t even know who Fred Astaire was. I had students who had never heard of Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Jimmy Cagney, Jimmy Stewart, etc. It floored me, but no longer. I just don’t know who the audience is supposed to be.

  19. The Recluse says:

    Astaire had this light, graceful quality when he danced. He was all charm and personality and he had a distinctive style of singing that Gershwin appreciated so much that he preferred Astaire to be the person to present his songs for the first time to the public. Tom is just not the same and no amount of acting can make up for what he does not share with Astaire in those qualities. Balanchine once called Astaire one of the greatest dancers ever…
    My suspicion is the widow, who is a dubious and greedy personality, is behind this. I kind of hope the daughter sues to stop it since it goes against her father’s will.

  20. jferber says:

    I also heard that as a dancing team, Ginger Rogers gave Astaire sex appeal and Fred Astaire gave Rogers class. I couldn’t agree more. Though they disliked each other (he was paid a fortune to her pittance in every movie), they danced like a dream together.

  21. shalla7 says:

    Btw Astaire’s widow is Robyn Smith, who was famous for her own accomplishments prior to marrying Astaire. Smith was one of the first female jockeys (horseracing), was quite successful in that sport, and among other things was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1972.

  22. Normades says:

    Totally disagree that he could better play Gene Kelly then Fred Astaire. He has so much more of an Astaire vibe imo.
    Joaquin Phoenix didn’t have the height or the voice to play Johnny Cash, but that performance is amazing. And Cash wanted him to play him.
    I don’t know what to think about Astaire’s last wishes. I’m an atheist and think where he is he won’t mind, but in life he really didn’t want that so it should be respected maybe.