Tom Holland to Star in First Season of 'The Crowded Room', a New Anthology Series From Akiva Goldsman

Tom Holland is taking another bite out of Apple.

The once and future Spider-Man actor recently worked with the streamer on the Russo Brothers’ film Cherry, and now word has arrived that he will play the lead role in a new anthology series for AppleTV+ called The Crowded Room, which hails from writer and executive producer Akiva Goldsman. And it sounds like he’ll be playing another character that will allow him to flex a different set of muscles as an actor.

According to a press release from AppleTV+, Tom Holland will be executive producing and starring in The Crowded Room, a “seasonal anthology” set to be produced by Apple Studios and New Regency. The streamer has already given the show a series order. Here’s what it will be about:

The Crowded Room is a gripping anthology series that will explore the true and inspirational stories of those who have struggled, and learned to successfully live with, mental illness. The anthology’s 10-episode first season is a captivating thriller, inspired by the award-winning biography “The Minds of Billy Milligan” by Daniel Keyes. It tells the story of Billy Milligan (Holland), the first person ever acquitted of a crime because of Multiple Personality Disorder (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder).

On one hand, based on his previous track record, Akiva Goldsman is not the person I would choose to be writing a story that involves any disorders, real or fictional. He’s not exactly a subtle type of writer, and a lightning rod topic like that requires nuance and a deep understanding so as not to offend anyone who actually has Dissociative Identity Disorder or perpetuate stereotypes about people who do. For example, I remember there being a bit of pushback to the way that M. Night Shyamalan’s Split handled that topic (a case could be made that that film took place in a heightened world, but that doesn’t completely absolve the movie of any missteps).

On the other hand, playing a character with that disorder is probably like catnip for an actor, because they get to play multiple characters within the same physical body. (See also: Toni Collette in The United States of Tara.) James McAvoy turned in one of his best performances in Split, and this could be an opportunity for Holland to do similarly great work.

Ultimately, it’s too early to pass judgment on The Crowded Room based on the little information we have so far, but as of now, it just seems as if everyone involved will need to tread slightly carefully around this one.

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