Known best for his superhero action skills, Tom Holland is showing that his talent goes far beyond the Spider-Man suit in his latest project. How far ?
In The Crowded Room, the actor explores the darkness of mental health and how it penetrates the human condition – in ways unimaginable.
The psychological thriller follows lonely teenager Danny Sullivan, who is arrested after a shooting at New York's Rockefeller Centre in 1979. But what caused it to happen and is he truly at fault?
Leading the investigation is clinical psychologist Rya Goodwin (Amanda Seyfried) who attempts to understand Danny and what led to the terrible events.
From his disturbing childhood and subsequent mental health problems, the case becomes less of a whodunnit and more of an intimate look into the trauma of one man and how it shaped his actions.
Inspired by a true story and based on the 1981 novel The Minds Of Billy Milligan, the 10-part series has been passed around Hollywood for years, but never taken up by a studio. At one time, Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to the project.
Now, Tom has been granted an opportunity to explore his dramatic side – and chose to do the project without reading much of the script. But the role, he says, took a heavy toll.
The series also stars Shameless actress Emmy Rossum as Danny's mum and Zachary Golinger as a young Danny.
"The mental aspect really beat me up and took me a long time to recover afterwards, to sort of get back to reality," the British actor told Entertainment Weekly.
"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 to get rid of this character."
While he didn't actually go through with it, immersing himself in the world of a real-life figure wasn't easy. The Crowded Room is a work of fiction and told through a heightened lens, but Billy Milligan and his court case were real.
Without revealing too many spoilers, the story switches between past and present day as Danny recounts his story. And what happens beyond the crime that starts it all is far more shocking than you think.