Jacob Batalon (left) plays the best friend of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Fil-Am actor Jacob Batalon plays Tom Holland’s best friend in the upcoming Hollywood movie Spider-Man: Homecoming. Born in Hawaii, United States in 1996 to Filipino parents, Jacob is cast as Edward “Ned” Leeds, the best buddy of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man. Spider-Man: Homecoming is only Jacob’s second film, but his biggest acting credit so far. This superhero movie will open in Philippine cinemas on July 6, 2017. As quoted from USA Today, “When Ned accidentally finds out his friend is this masked hero, Batalon says, ‘He understands Peter’s life and he think he’s the one who can help him deal with being a crimefighter and deal with girls.’” What Jacob means by that is he seems to know more because Ned has known Peter for the longest time. For those familiar with the Ned Leeds character from the Spider-Man comics or the Korean-American Ned Lee from The Spectacular Spider-Man, they will be surprised to learn that Jacob’s Ned has been close friends with Peter since high school. Jacob himself has described his Ned as a really innocent, genuine, sweet kid. In Comic-Con 2016, Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts has stated that this Spider- Man is really more of a straight-up, high school movie featuring Peter Parker and his 15-yearold friends basically going through puberty. Jacob fits the bill of best-friend-to-a-superhero perfectly and based on the three trailers that have been released by Marvel, it seems Jacob is set to capture more than a few fans as well, as early reviews describe his Ned to have a scene-stealing role from Tom Holland’s Peter. In the third trailer, Jacob gets a few more precious moments on screen. As an alumnus from the private Roman Catholic preparatory school Damien Memorial School in Honolulu, Jacob could not have foreseen that his future held a role in Spider- Man: Homecoming, much less one where he is doing a movie with Michael Keaton playing Vulture, Peter’s nemesis. At Damien, Jacob didn’t experience being on stage or performing in front of people because his prep school didn’t have those. It was his mother pushing him, like most Pinay moms, to sing and play a ukelele in front of friends and family that made Jacob learn to enjoy performing. When he enrolled in a two-year New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts course in 2014, he fully embraced both film and acting. Jacob revealed in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he first learned he got the part of Ned Leeds on May 6, 2016. He says he kept the whole thing a secret at first from his family, except for his brother-inlaw. That is because he knew he was the best secret- keeper. He admits he is a big Spider-Man fan, having first seen the Tobey Maguire versions as younger kid.He got his first film credit in the 2016 short horror-comedy North Woods starring Amber Allen and Jesse Boone. The 21-year-old actor played Cooper, who along with 4 other film students, are shooting a documentary about the Wendigo and find themselves slowly hunted down by a hungry creature. From nearly zero-experience to now starring alongside bigwigs, Jacob is also set to co-star as Sancho Panza to Tim Blake Nelson’s Don Quixote in the 2018 The True Don Quixote, a modern- day version of the Miguel de Cervantes novel.