Tom Holland has said working on the psychological thriller The Crowded Room made him reflect on the way he views his own mental health.
Holland, 26, plays the role of Danny Sullivan in the Apple TV+ production, which is based on the 1981 book The Minds of Billy Milligan.
His lawyers pleaded insanity, and Milligan became the first ever person to be acquitted of a crime due to suffering from dissociative identity disorder – previously known as multiple personality disorder.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Holland said that while The Crowded Room is inspired by Milligan’s life, he and writer Akiva Goldsman “felt like it was a more appropriate story to tell from a fictional point of view”.
Set against the backdrop of New York in 1979, The Crowded Room follows Sullivan – an anti-social man – after he is arrested for a shooting at the Rockefeller Center. Investigator Rya Goodwin (Amanda Seyfried) works with Sullivan to help clear his name and find the real perpetrator.
Holland also said that the “mental aspect” of playing Danny “really beat me up” and that it took the Spider-Man actor a “long time” to recover afterwards.
He explained: “I was seeing myself in him, but in my personal life. 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.”
Holland also revealed he is one year and four months sober, and that “learning about mental health” while working on The Crowded Room “has been so informative to my own life”.
Working with psychiatrists to better understand Danny and Billy’s struggles and filming The Crowded Room helped him get better at “recognising triggers” and “things that stress me out” including social media, the actor added.
Last year, the actor announced he was taking a break from social media, citing mental health-related reasons.
At the time, he explained he had deleted Instagram and Twitter from his phone, calling the apps “overstimulating” and “overwhelming”.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies