Naomi Watts was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in The Impossible, and Ewan McGregor starred as the husband and father who refused to quit looking for his missing family in the devastating aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. But the emotional core of the heartrending disaster film was Tom Holland, the 13-year old English actor who played their oldest son Lucas. Nearly swept away by the wave, Lucas clings to life among the dangerous flotsam and survives to help his injured mother to safety. Never striking a false note as his character veers between terror, hopelessness, and bravery, Holland delivers a performance reminiscent of Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun. The first-time movie actor, who’d starred in the London stage production of Billy Elliot, won several newcomer acting awards for his role in The Impossible, including a Breakthrough Award from the National Board of Review.
Now 16, Holland is poised to star in three upcoming high-profile movies in the next year. But speaking to EW just after coming home from school in London, it’s clear he’s in no rush to hurry matters.