Emmy Rossum is not your typical mom. The 36-year-old actress is playing Tom Holland’s mom in the upcoming Apple TV+ series The Crowded Room. But Rossum says that the age gap is not a problem, because her character, Candy Sullivan, was a teenage mom who had a complicated relationship with her son, Danny Sullivan.
Danny Sullivan is based on the real-life Billy Milligan, who was the first person to be acquitted of a major crime due to dissociative identity disorder. He had 24 different personalities that took over his body and mind at different times. Tom Holland plays Danny as an adult, while Zachary Golinger plays him as a child.
The Crowded Room is a 10-episode anthology series that follows Danny’s life story, from his troubled childhood to his involvement in a shooting in New York City in 1979. Amanda Seyfried co-stars as Rya Goodwin, an investigator who tries to unravel the mystery of Danny’s condition and his past.
Rossum spoke to Entertainment Tonight about her role as Candy, and how she approached playing Tom Holland’s mom.
“It makes sense when I read the script,” Rossum said. “Candy’s a super young mom, she’s almost a child in her own right when she becomes pregnant at age 16. You watch as I age from 25 to 35, which is actually younger than I am now.”
Rossum added that she fell in love with the relationship between mother and son, and the closeness and everything that they’re grieving in later episodes.
“I was so taken with the series and really just loved all my scenes, especially with young Danny,” she said. “Our relationship was so beautiful and so I knew everything that we had that I had lost in the scenes with Tom. [It] was really fun.”
Rossum also praised Holland for his performance as Danny, saying that he was “absolutely incredible” and “broke himself” for the role.
“He has such range and such depth and such vulnerability,” she said. “He really went there.”
Holland also spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his experience working on The Crowded Room, and how he balanced his duties as an executive producer and star of the show.
“This show absolutely broke me in every way possible,” Holland said. “I just kept my head down. I dug my heels in, and I just tried my best.”
Holland said that he was involved in every aspect of the production, from the scenes to the dialogue to the sets. He also said that he did a lot of research on dissociative identity disorder, and consulted with experts and psychologists on set.
“It was really important to us to tell this story in an authentic way, as well as a sensitive way,” he said.
The Crowded Room is set to premiere on June 9 on Apple TV+. It is created by Akiva Goldsman, who also serves as an executive producer along with Holland, Rossum, Seyfried, Alexandra Milchan and others.