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The Crowded Room's Danny Sullivan Took A Mental Toll On Tom Holland

Tom Holland's collaborations with Apple TV+ have led to some of his most demanding work. In "Cherry," he played a war veteran turned bank robber in a harrowing story that had the current Spider-Man grappling with drug addiction, PTSD, trauma and rage. Now, things are getting equally intense with "The Crowded Room," an all-new TV series that has Holland once again doing some heavy lifting.

The 10-episode show, inspired by a true story, has Holland playing a troubled man named Danny Sullivan, arrested for a New York City shooting in 1979. Of the roles in his career, this one has been a particularly difficult one to leave at the office. 

"I'm no stranger to the physical aspects of the job doing the whole action-movie thing but the mental aspect, it really beat me up," he recently told Entertainment Weekly. "It took a long time for me to recover afterward, to sort of get back to reality." 

Co-starring Emma Laird, Emmy Rossum and Amanda Seyfried, the Akiva Goldsman-created miniseries proved to be a difficult journey for Holland, who had a particularly difficult moment some nine months after he had begun walking in Danny's shoes.

The Crowded Room impacted Holland's mental health

As hinted at in the trailer for "The Crowded Room," a strong part of Sullivan's story is his grasp on reality and the impact it had on his decisions. 

"I was seeing myself in him, but in my personal life," Holland recalls. "I remember having a bit of a meltdown at home and thinking, like, 'I'm going to shave my head. I need to shave my head because I need to get rid of this character.' And, obviously, we were mid-shooting, so I decided not to ... It was unlike anything I've ever experienced before."

Difficult as it may have been for Holland, there appears to have been a light at the end of the tunnel that he didn't expect, thanks to delving deep into the issues that were impacting Danny in the story. "Learning about mental health and the power of it," he said, "and speaking to psychiatrists about Danny and Billy's struggles, has been something that has been so informative to my own life."

Holland, who has now been sober for over a year, says the experience  ultimately gave him hope. "Learning about mental health and the power of it, and speaking to psychiatrists about Danny and Billy's struggles, has been something that has been so informative to my own life," he says, explaining that "recognizing triggers" and avoiding "things that stress me out" are two of the new skills he honed on the job. 

"The Crowded Room" opens up on Apple TV+ on June 9.