state of the arts

Tom Holland’s acting hiatus may seem bizarre to regular people – but it’s a good thing

The ‘Spider-Man’ star is stepping back from Hollywood after a particularly gruelling role on Apple TV+’s ‘The Crowded Room’. It’s about time more actors started prioritising their wellbeing over career momentum, writes Louis Chilton

Saturday 10 June 2023 06:30 BST
Gap year: Tom Holland is embarking on a year away from the film industry
Gap year: Tom Holland is embarking on a year away from the film industry (AFP/Getty)

Bon voyage, Spider-Man. Earlier this week, Tom Holland announced that he is taking a step back from acting for a year, after filming a particularly taxing role in Apple TV+’s new psychological drama The Crowded Room. The 27-year-old actor is best known for his breezy turn as Peter Parker in the Marvel universe, but has previously branched out into darker material in films such as The Devil All the Time and Cherry. The Crowded Room, however, proved a step too far, with Holland claiming this week that the role, of a man involved in a shooting in the late 1970s, had “broken” him. So he’s taking it easy: travelling; seeing friends and family; playing golf; going to the garden centre (“I’m buying plants and doing my best to keep them alive”); being, in his words, just a “regular bloke from Kingston”.

Holland is not the only big-name actor to embark on a self-imposed sabbatical. Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston revealed this week that he plans to stop acting in 2026 and move to France with his wife, the actor Robin Dearden. “For the last 24 years, Robin has led her life holding onto my tail,” Cranston said. “I want to level that out. She deserves it.” Ryan Gosling, meanwhile, is soon to return to screens in Barbie, having recently undertaken a four-year break from acting; he told an interviewer that the fallow period was prompted by his two young children, and his need to be present as a father during their early years. In today’s interview with The Independent, actor Josh Hartnett opened up about his efforts to shun stardom at the peak of his fame. “Being famous is a full-time job,” he said. “I had paparazzi chasing me, people approaching me… You weren’t allowed to really be yourself. Plenty of actors have found that work-life balance, but I found it hard and I really sought it. People thought I was nuts.”

It can be hard, for those of us without the financial means to sit back and stop working, to sympathise with these people. Alright for some, you’re probably thinking. Oftentimes, the mere mention of the struggles of the rich and famous is enough to have everyone rummaging for the tiny violins. But actors are also people, and for decades they have been people who are, more often than not, working long, unsociable hours, in locations far away from those closest to them, sometimes on projects that involve distressing subject matter. No wonder, then, that Hollywood is littered with stories of bad fathers, bad husbands, and straight-up bad people; for this to improve, actors need to start prioritising their own wellbeing.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in