Marvel is famously tight-lipped and super secretive when it comes to its cinematic universe. Recently, when I caught up with Remy Hii who plays Brad Davis in Spider-Man: Far From Home, I found out just how seriously Marvel takes security.
Speaking with Remy, who has also appeared in Neighbours, Marco Polo, Crazy Rich Asians and Harrow, he told me about how got his role in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
I audtioned for Spider-Man and I got told that I was successful and had A part but the words that I was auditioning with were all fake and wouldn’t be what I was saying.
I was then told that if I wanted the part in this movie I had to first say yes, accept it, fly to London and then they’d tell me what I was getting myself into.
After agreeing to the terms (which anyone would) Remy told me he spent two hours in a locked producer’s office with the final script for Spider-Man: Far From Home. Even then, Remy said, “the script had lots of black bars over bits that were potential spoilers for Avengers Endgame.” He explained that everything — when working with Marvel — is on a ‘need-to-know-basis.’
To me, this sounded like it would be quite difficult for any actor and would not be the norm when auditioning for roles. Remy assured me that it wasn’t standard practice. “For an actor, knowledge is power!” he said. “You want to research and get as prepared as you can.” However, he doesn’t begrudge the security because, as he puts it, “We want the fans to be surprised and amazed when they walk into the cinema for the very first time.”
Describing the security as a challenge, but one that he enjoyed, Remy said that all of the actors are in the same boat; Jake Gyllenhaal (Mysterio), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and especially Tom Holland.
“With Tom [Holland], they don’t tell him anything because he keeps spoiling everything,” Remy joked. One thing that no one saw coming, not Remy and certainly not Tom Holland was J.K. Simmons cameo in the post-credits scene.
‘That was something that was kept completely secret from all of us,” Remy said. “I remember seeing him [J.K. Simmons] on the Red Carpet and the whole cast was like ‘What’s he doing here, he’s not in our movie?!’ It was one hell of a surprise.”
Despite the cast being in the dark about a lot of the ins and outs of the film, Remy said they all used that to their advantage. They developed a mentality that they were all in it together so they could “bounce off each other” he explained, adding “I think you can see that we’re having a lot of fun.”
With so much of the story hidden and so much of his character a mystery, staying in character was something I assumed would have been difficult. However, Remy said that the great cast and a dialect coach helped keep Brad alive between takes. Affecting a flawless American accent, Remy drawled “Talking with the accent really helps,” then dropping back into his normal Australian twang he added, “That’s a big part of getting into character.”
As the audience, we see Brad as this quintessential jock and a rival for Peter Parker. This automatically puts him on the back foot with fans and makes him a, sort-of, villain. But Remy disagrees and tells me he has to “Stand up for [his] man.”
I really empathised with his plight. I never saw him as a bad guy. I think Brad is someone who’s really in love with a girl and after seeing his rival doing something that he perceives as being very suspect out of respect for MJ he has to let her know what he saw.
I really justified all of Brad’s actions and I’ve gotta stick by him.
Remy also said that he knows and understands that fans are saying “We hate Brad! We hate Brad!” but said that “at the end of the day, I know his heart.” According to Remy that’s part of the beauty of acting, changing your name, your age, what you do, where you’re from and playing a teenager in this movie was easy because “we [the cast] were all like kids on that set.”
It wasn’t just on the set of Spider-Man: Far From Home that the cast got to hang out and have fun either. Remy said that many of them were living in a shared house in London which really added to the school trip feel of the entire experience. Being in this environment meant the cast had lots of time to spend together and according to Remy, “Our Nintendo Switches got a WORKOUT!”
“Almost all of us had a Nintendo Switch on us which is perfect for when you’re travelling and I actually brought my Xbox One from home,” he added.
Remy admitted that he even took an extra suitcase with him just to make sure he could bring along his Xbox One. Being able to find out what Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, Euphoria’s Zendaya and the rest of the cast play while on the road was too good an opportunity to pass up. According to Remy, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was the go-to game for the cast.
Another really popular game to play was Overcooked 2. “If there was ever a game to end friendships, it’s Overcooked 2,” Remy joked. I also had to find out who the King or Queen of Mario Kart amongst the Spider-Man: Far From Home cast was and Remy said;
Angourie Rice (Betty Brant) put up a mean fight as did Zendaya but Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds) is kind of the reigining champion. I think that guy has a little secret skill up his sleeve.
He’s really, really good. Zendaya cuts a mean line as well.
Listening to Remy talk about playing video games with Hollywood megastars it struck me that he spoke about the experience the same way I’d tell someone about a regular Friday night with my friends. When I asked him what it was like to spend time with superstars he simply told me that “Megastardom is something that’s placed upon actors from the outside. When you get to know them, they’re regular everyday people.”
Remy couldn’t have been more complimentary of his castmates but saved particular praise for Tom Holland. Telling me he’d been a fan of Holland’s since seeing him in The Impossible and being “completely moved” by his performance, Remy said it was incredible to then stand opposite him on set.
Having played opposite Holland now and with J. Jonah Jameson unmasking Peter Parker, I asked Remy if he thought Brad Davis might appear in future movies and potentially be vindicated.
“Everyone needs a good redemption arc, right? I’d love to see Brad vindicated and to see his character progressing but that’s all in the good hands of Jon Watts (Director) and the creative team at Sony and Marvel.” In saying that though, Remy told me that if he had the chance to play a hero or villain in a superhero movie, he’d play a villain. He points to Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal as Mysterio as one reason why. He joked that maybe Brad could become the Hobgoblin, something he’d be very ok with.
Before we wrapped up our chat, I told Remy how much I loved the scene where he flips Peter the finger in the opera house and he laughed and told me that moment came from an improv.
We were working on different reactions and finding ways to make it work and that just came out of the blue and I honestly did not think that was going to make it in.
Remy’s next projects include the Crazy Rich Asian sequels and he said he’d love to come home to Australia for more work.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is available on Digital now and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ & DVD on 23 October. For stockists, visit https://theviewinglounge.com.au/view/spider-man-far-from-home/
Thanks to Remy Hii for his time.