EXCLUSIVE: The ancient Scottish town of St Andrews was hit with a heavy bout of  Spidey fever this past weekend as the third annual Sands International Film Festival opened, pulling in an eclectic set of films, filmmakers, and speakers alongside one popular guest of honor. 

Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, also known for The Impossible, Cherry, and The Devil All the Time passed through the fest, which opened with a screening of Last Call, a short project he leads with Lindsay Duncan (Blackbird) that was co-written and directed by his brother, Harry Holland. The Holland brothers also took part in the first annual Sands golf tournament, which will continue as part of the festival’s wider activities. It was on the pristine golfing greens where Tom linked up with Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr to discuss his career so far and plans for future projects, including whether he will return for a fourth Spider-Man movie. 

“The simple answer is that I’ll always want to do Spider-Man films,” Tom told Deadline. “I owe my life and career to Spider-Man. So the simple answer is yes. I’ll always want to do more.”

The more “complicated answer” Tom added is how he and the Spider-Man team approach any follow-up to Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third title in his webbed saga, without retreading past themes. 

“We have the best in the business working toward whatever the story might be. But until we’ve cracked it, we have a legacy to protect,” he said. “The third movie was so special in so many ways that we need to make sure we do the right thing.”

He added: “This is the first time in this process that I’ve been part of the creative so early. It’s just a process where I’m watching and learning. It’s just a really fun stage for me. Like I said, everyone wants it to happen. But we want to make sure we’re not overdoing the same things.”

Mike Fleming Jr, Tom Holland, Harry Holland, Joe Russo. (Sands Film Festival).

Starring Holland alongside Zendaya, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield, Spider-Man: No Way Home opened in December 2021 and took $260M in its first weekend, becoming the second-highest opening ever at the domestic box office. It would eventually race past the billion-dollar mark and inspire a now-seminal internet meme

Holland was last seen on screen in the Apple mini-series The Crowded Room opposite Amanda Seyfried, Sasha Lane, and Will Chase. The series was created by Akiva Goldsman and inspired by the book The Minds of Billy Milligan. The Spider-Man actor told us he is now engaged in the development of several burgeoning projects.

“We’re figuring it out. We’re at that stage where it’s post-strike, so we’re waiting for those scripts to come in,” he said. “We’re giving the writers the time they need to hit the ground running. But I’ve got a few projects that I’m really excited about and scripts are coming in now and they’re great. I read something the other day that absolutely blew my mind.” 

Tom Holland was just one of a few high-profile names to pass through Sands this year. The festival also hosted a unique Q&A session with composer Alan Silvestri, best known for scoring Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, and Cast Away among other Hollywood classics. The session was bookended with an intimate performance by Silvestri who was accompanied by the St Andrews Chamber Orchestra.

(Photo by Euan Cherry/Getty Images for University of St Andrews)

Films screened as part of this year’s festival lineup included Anna Hints’ Sundance-winning doc Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, Daisy Ridley-starrer Sometimes I Think About Dying, and Anthony and Joe Russo’s little-seen 2002 comedy Welcome to Collinwood. The film’s producer Steven Soderbergh was also present for a rare onstage Q&A following the screening.

Mounted across a weekend in St Andrews, Sands is run by Ania Trzebiatowska — also a full-time programmer at Sundance — with an impressive gang of part-time student programmers from the University of St. Andrews, a partner on the festival alongside Joe and Anthony Russo’s AGBO. The festival closed Sunday evening with Maggie Contreras’ debut feature documentary Maestra, in which five female conductors from across the globe prepare for and compete in La Maestra, the world’s only competition for female conductors. 

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