Jacob Batalon may play Ned Leeds, Peter Parker/Spider-Man's sidekick on-screen, but he's now ready to be at the top of the call sheet. "The Guy in the Chair" actor isn't only working on a new SYFY series, as the lead role in Reginald the Vampire, but Batalon also lands his first cover with 1883 Magazine. He talks about his experience filming during the Spider-Man era and being casted as Ned, what his relationships are like with his co-stars, and a few ventures he looks to take on.
For you who aren't familiar with Batalon, he's a Hawai'i native who didn't have much acting experience before landing the role of Ned. He sent in a self-tape audition and literally the rest is history. Batalon is proud to bring representation to the role and reflect "the real people who exist in the world around us." Playing the role for 5 years, the process of it all has become his own coming of age story.
"I guess it was more of a surprise than anything. I feel like I’ve become a completely different person from who I was back then. I’ve grown up in a lot of ways and I feel like I had to take that path and learn about who I am on my own. That has helped me become more of myself and helped mould me into who I really am."
After being casted along with Zendaya as MJ, he said it was received with mixed comments. His character in the comics is described as white, tall with blue eyes. "It’s something a lot of people have asked my opinion on, and I feel like it’s such a sign of the times. Tons of people supported us being people of colour playing these characters, but Zendaya got this weird amount of hate..." Batalon with his optimistic personality didn't let the negativity get to him. "If you choose to not let that type of chatter impact you, there’s an even more powerful message that you’re showing those people. All we can do is choose to be good people and do our best to be successful and not listen to any of that noise."
At least he had a great group of people on set who become his family like Tom Holland and Zendaya. He shared how emotional it was to shoot the third film of the franchise because of how close they became. "They’re my family and we’ve really grown a lot together; we’ve seen each other go through a lot. It was a pretty emotional moment for us because we just couldn’t believe we had accomplished something so amazing together." We all know about his and Tom Holland's bromance. Jacob mentioned how they checked in on each other during the pandemic and stayed hopeful to continue filming. The break from filming really showed how strong the bromance was.
As for the future, Batalon's currently working on the SYFY series but also has a couple of other ideas up his sleeve. He's looking into opening a food truck in New York along with investing in the cannabis industry. Food wise, Batalon shares how there isn't much representation from Hawai'i. We all know how good Hawaiian food is! "I would love to share Hawaiian cuisine with people because it’s such a delicious, decadent type of food that I feel like a lot of people are missing out on." He also talks about how he's gone vegan and wants to try vegan Filipino food. We think he's up to something with this two investment ideas.
Check out the whole spread here! This definitely won't be the last we see of Jacob Batalon. It's only the beginning of many firsts for this Hawai'i native. With a promising career ahead and already an impressive resume, there's so much to look forward to. If he ever establishes his food truck, we'll be the first one there, guarantee! We're already manifesting a MYX Eats in the future!
Cover Photo Credit: 1883 Magazine