Tom Holland has been wildly successful for his pivotal superhero role of Spiderman over the last 5 years. In person, as is in his screen persona as the ‘friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’, Holland has a down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky personality. Holland’s recent career move and resultant consequences seems all the more surprising.
The serious role of Danny Sullivan in The Crowded Room series showcases the actor’s range in more sombre genres. He also worked on set as an executive producer.
This dramatic thriller series is loosely based on a notorious criminal case surrounding the first person to be acquitted of his crimes on account of multiple personalities. The case in question surrounds a man, Billy Milligan, who suffered from domestic abuse and had alters who inflicted abuse on others.
After filming the entire series, Holland reported to various sources that the gruelling process paired with the jarring subject matter “broke him”.
“I think a large reason for that is when you make a film, it only takes four months and that would be considered a long film. But The Crowded Room, It’s ten months of playing this character, day in and day out. I really did find myself kind of morphing with him in certain moments”.
In fact, the entire ordeal seems to have driven him to take a year-long break from acting altogether.
Some may deem this decision unnecessary while some may consider this a brave act.
We are often quite hard on ourselves when we are affected by something that is not entirely obvious or that cannot be seen at all. Suppressing or invalidating the expressions of hurt, sadness, and vulnerability is some times the result of feelings or shame or a lack of emotional and self-awareness.
Holland chose to face up to his ordeal and managed his distress by deleting his social media apps last year. This was because he was spiralling down with the online discussions about himself, and the overstimulation he felt from Instagram and Twitter affected his wellbeing.
“Ultimately, it’s very detrimental to my mental state, so I decided to take a step back,” Tom said in his Instagram post.
In all, Holland does not regret his role in the series and believes that The Crowded Room is an advocacy for mental wellness.
“I think that the message of the show, which can speak to so many different issues, is that asking for help, should be something that we as a society celebrate. It’s an act of bravery…Standing up and asking for help is not something you should be ashamed of, and I hope that this show can represent that in a truthful and authentic, and most importantly, sensitive ways…”
Here are some helplines if you need to talk to someone about your struggles