How Tom Holland Switched Gears To Take On The Series’ First Leading Role In ‘The Crowded Room’

Tom Holland in "The crowded room"  (AppleTV+)

Tom Holland in The crowded room. (Picture: AppleTV+)

The crowded room is distinctly different from anything Tom Holland has done. The new Apple TV+ series is her first starring role on a TV show, for her part. And the character he plays, a seemingly benign man from upstate New York named Danny Sullivan who is under investigation for a murder in 1979, is nothing like anyone but the 27-year-old Briton. years has embodied before – especially once the layers start to peel off her character in creator Akiva Goldsman’s twisty dramatic thriller (A beautiful mind, the Da Vinci Code, I’m a legend).

Actor best known for playing Peter Parker in Sony and Marvel’s Hugely Popular Spider Man And avengers movies, however, negates any grand career strategy at work.

“To be perfectly honest with you, mate, I’m not actively looking for anything,” he tells us in a new interview (see below). “The industry is a minefield and you can stumble upon the best script you’ve ever read one day and the worst thing you’ve ever read the next. So for me, I really live by ‘Never say never. ‘ I’m open to anything. Television was definitely not on my radar, but my agents brought it to me. They told me about Akiva, they told me about it. They told me about it. opportunity it would bring as an actor, and it was music to my ears. So I was happy to sit down with Akiva. He’s a great salesperson. He got me after the first meeting and I’m glad we got there because I’m very proud of it.

Holland was so addicted to Goldman’s pitch that he became executive producer of the 10-episode miniseries, a loose adaptation of Daniel Keyes’ 1981 nonfiction novel. The mind of Billy Milligan.

“He’s so excited about this project,” says Amanda Seyfried, who plays Rya Goodwin, an investigator interviewing Danny about his accusations. “He really wanted to have it done. People have been trying to do this for 20, 30 years maybe. And when he came on board and really got into it, I think that’s why we’re talking about it here. I owe him, for putting himself in danger with such a difficult role. But he was totally up for the challenge and he really showed the way.

THE CROWDED ROOM, Amanda Seyfried, (Season 1, Ep. 103, aired June 9, 2023).  photo: ©Apple TV+ /courtesy Everett Collection

Amanda Seyfried in The crowded room. (Photo: Apple TV+/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Although only nine years older than Holland, Emmy Rossum (Shameless) plays his mother Candy – largely because of the show’s time-jumping element, with Zachary Golinger portraying a young Danny Sullivan.

“It was moving to see them both capture the unique nature of this character’s tenderness and sensitivity,” Rossum said. “As my character says in maybe episode 9 or 10, ‘The world is a cruel place.’ And I think she knows her son has always been different and says so many times throughout this series, but there’s nothing wrong with that. [of this] the show has this bottomless empathy for these characters who are really trying their best, but really struggling.

On screen, the role of boisterous Danny gave Holland, whose previous dramatic film roles include his breakout role in The impossible (2012) and PTSD-themed 2021 Cherryto explore the multiple nuances of a character like he never had before.

“Playing someone as volatile as Danny, someone with such extreme ups and downs, was like an incredible opportunity for me as an actor to try to stretch myself, but also to find a way to exist in the middle,” Holland said. “That’s the hardest part. Extremes are easy. I can scream and scream all day and I can cry in the corner all day. But finding that middle ground for me, the intricacies of that performance is what I’m really proud of. And I haven’t really found a character in my career that has allowed me to do all three.

(The role was so difficult for Holland, who has yet to decide if he will do a fourth Spider Man film, which the actor indicated he would be taking a year off.)

THE CROWDED ROOM, left to right: Sasha Lane, Tom Holland, "Exodus", (Season 1, ep. 102, aired June 9, 2023).  photo: Stephanie Mei-Ling /©Apple TV+ /courtesy Everett Collection

Sasha Lane and Tom Holland in The crowded room. (Photo: Stephanie Mei-Ling/Apple TV+/Courtesy of Everett Collection)

Sasha Lane (American Honey, Hellboy), who plays Danny’s enigmatic roommate Ariana, admits she’s never seen a Spider Man movie or Holland in anything else. “I think he paid a lot of attention to what he did,” Lane says. “He didn’t have an easy job at all, and neither of us did. And so I think his effort and the energy he put into it was very impressive. And it’s really cool to be able to see someone through a journey. And it’s not a movie, it’s a show. So it’s only been months of him trying to perfect his craft and putting a lot of heart into it.

It’s hard to describe too much The crowded roomThe plot of without revealing any spoilers, but in the marketing materials, Apple TV+ teases that Danny will discover some great reveals about himself.

The crowded room offered Holland a chance to learn more about himself.

“I learned a lot about myself,” he says. “I learned a lot about my acting abilities. I learned a lot about my abilities to handle certain situations. You know, I think a few years ago maybe I was really upset about certain things that was going on in that job, and I was able to keep a cool head, focus on the job, and do my best. The thing that my dad always kind of told us, ‘As long as you do do your best, you can be happy.’

The first three episodes of The crowded room are now streaming on Apple TV+.

Watch the trailer:

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