Critically acclaimed in The Impossible, a stand-out turn in Ron Howard's new movie and recently named as the new man behind the mask in Spider-Man, 19-year-old Tom Holland is riding the crest of a wave.

The actor, born and raised in Kingston, is one of Hollywood’s hottest young prospects but insists his life has not changed all that much.

Speaking to us on the press tour of his new movie In the Heart of the Sea, Tom said: “Do you know what, [my life has changed] not that much really.

“When I come home I’m still Tom, I still have to do the dishes and clean my room. I’m probably the same person I was two years ago.

“I can see my life changing on the horizon but right now I’m just taking every day one at a time and enjoying walking down the street and stuff.”

The big change Tom alludes to is the inevitable tide of attention that will come when he officially pulls on the lycra of superhero Spider-Man for the first time on the big screen.

The webslinger is Sony Pictures’ most successful property – netting more than $4 billion worldwide – and cannily they have added even more to their chances of success by teaming up with Marvel studios.

That move finally brought the comic book character into line with its Marvel Cinematic Universe which has spawned numerous hits in recent years including Avengers Assemble, the fourth biggest movie of all time.

Sony boss Amy Pascal and Marvel’s Kevin Fiege chose former Wimbledon College and BRIT School pupil Tom after seeing his dazzling turns in 2012’s disaster flick The Impossible and early footage of his current movie, In the Heart of the Sea.

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The latter, out Boxing Day, tells the true story of the 19th century whaling boat The Essex, which inspired Herman Melville’s epic novel Moby Dick.

Tom plays 14-year-old Thomas Nickerson, through whom the audience experiences the drama of a ship wrecked by a giant white whale and the crew’s struggle to survive adrift on the ocean.

Oscar winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) wanted his cast’s performances to be as authentic as possible, so that involved shooting on the water on practical sets - both a real ship out at sea in the Canaries and a prop ship on a hydraulic rig in a tank at Leavesden – and starvation and weightloss by the cast.

Shooting on board a real boat was helpful for Tom, whose big break came when he was cast in Billy Elliot the Musical in the West End aged 12.

He said: “The scary thing is, they’re not big those ships.

“The first week, it made me realise that these men would live on these ships for three years so it was a constant reminder of how difficult life would have been to be a whaler.

“It was incredibly helpful because it meant that whenever something felt difficult it felt right. It meant you were doing a good job.”

The role also required heaps of research.

“We were given a huge stack of books. One of them was called Adrift, which is by Steve Callahan, who was this survivor who was one set with us quite a lot.

“We were told to watch Master and Commander and I watch that quite a few times. The amount of research and the amount of homework we were given was so helpful because when we came on set we knew exactly what we were making.”

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Perhaps Tom’s stand-out scene in In the Heart of the Sea is one where, as the smallest on the ship, he is sent into the head of a dead whale to retrieve oil. It is claustrophobic and enough to make even hardened cinema goers squirm a little.

Tom described the experience as ‘dreadful’.

He said: “It was a huge prosthetic whale head. It was very lifelike, it felt very real. It smelt real to me.

“It was gross inside and there was very little acting. It wasn’t my most heroic moment on set.”

In the film, Chris Hemsworth’s lead character, first mate Owen Chase, takes young Nickerson under his wing in a kind of paternal fashion.

The veteran Marvel actor – he has played Thor in two stand-alone movies and two Avengers outings – said he had a similar relationship with his co-star and new superhero stablemate on set too.

Chris told us: “He was extremely excited to be there and overwhelmed in a great way by it all, and I think star-struck by the whole event of it.

“It was easy to have that relationship with him. It was nice.

“You kind of live and breathe in each other’s pockets, the whole cast, very quickly and thankfully those relationships kind of slotted in nicely. We didn’t have to fake it much.”

With another impressive role under his belt in this movie, Tom quickly had to get steel himself for his Spidey debut – a cameo in next year’s eagerly awaited Captain America: Civil War.

For Tom, the experience of being on that set was incomparable to In the Heart of the Sea.

He said: “You can’t really compare the two. This was such a personal experience for me and I got to know everyone unbelievably well and I was so invested in it.

“The Marvel film, I was in and out very quickly and it was a very quick and exciting and unbelievable experience but I can’t really say I have experienced that yet.”

But experience it, he will. His first solo outing as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man is currently scheduled for release in 3D and Imax in July 2017 and clearly with the great power of becoming Sony’s most treasured property, comes great responsibility.

And that’s something Tom is relishing.

He said: “You need responsibility, it’s part of being human. This is a big responsibility and superheroes always say they have a lot of responsibility.

“I’m just excited to get to work. I know that the people who are working on the film are incredibly creative, the Marvel team are fantastic and are doing an excellent job with everything they have created so far.”

Before he prepares to take on the bad guys though, Tom’s got some much needed time off over Christmas which he will spend back at home with his family.

He said: “It has been a busy year for me so I haven’t had much family time. So it will just be nice to do nothing and eat and sleep, really, and watch some good films.”

In the Heart of the Sea (12A) is in cinemas on Saturday, December 26.