The Crowded Room is soon to be the show everyone’s talking about – and not just because the Apple TV+ show’s star-studded line-up involves Amanda Seyfried, Tom Holland, and now Shameless star Emmy Rossum.
The 10-episode anthology narrative series from A Beautiful Mind screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (who also serves as executive producer) will, according to the Apple TV statement, “explore inspirational stories of those who have struggled, and learned to successfully live with, mental illness”. The show will be co-produced by Apple Studios in collaboration with New Regency.
The Crowded Room will be based on a thriller format and inspired partly by Goldsman’s own life (he’s the offspring of two New York clinical child psychologists, and grew up in a group home for those suffering from childhood schizophrenia).
The bones of the plot are inspired by Danny Keyes’ 1981 biography, The Minds of Billy Milligan, which chronicles the life of Billy Milligan who was found “not guilty” after being arrested for numerous rape charges in Columbus, Ohio, after his lawyers argued his mental health condition – dissociative identity disorder – prevented him from knowing what he was doing. He was subsequently committed to a psychiatric hospital for a decade.
Every so often a show comes along and broadens the narrative around a sensitive, taboo topic – and we have a feeling this show is about to do just that, through a frank look at the experience of living with mental health inspired by an extraordinary real life story. In much the same way, The Crowded Room’s director Kornél Mundrucźo did this with his 2020 film Pieces of a Woman, which offered a brave perspective on baby loss and grief.
Who will star in The Crowded Room?
Confirmed cast members include Spiderman star Tom Holland playing the lead character, Danny Sullivan, who also serves as an executive producer on the show. Holland will star alongside Mamma Mia‘s Amanda Seyfried and now Shameless lead Emmy Rossum.
Other named confirmed as part of the mix include Sasha Lane (The Miseducation of Cameron Post), Christopher Abbot (Girls) and newcomer Emma Laird.
What’s the plot of The Crowded Room?
While the plot is said to be based loosely around the real-life story of Billy Milligan, the main character – played by Tom Holland – has been given the name Danny Sullivan, assumedly to reflect the multiple inspirations behind the story. Despite the name change, at least part of the story will still has much in common with Billy’s – who was the first person to ever be acquitted for a crime on account of having multiple personality disorder (which is now known as dissociative identity disorder).
The character of Sullivan’s mother, a woman desperately trying to support her son, will be played by Emmy Rossum. Amanda Seyfried will be playing a clinical psychologist involved in Billy’s case, who is also navigating life as a single mother outside of work.
It is not yet known which period of real-life inspiration Billy Milligan’s life the show will cover, and whether other stories might be brought in as part of the “anthology series” format. Typically, this sort of show might show different stories across different episodes all based around a similar theme. Examples include Black Mirror and American Crime Story.
Shows like The Sinner – which has changed plot line each season while maintaining the same overarching theme and one central character – might also be considered another type of anthology series.
Is there a trailer for The Crowded Room?
Sadly, we do not yet have a trailer or any first-look images from this hotly-anticipated show.
When will The Crowded Room be released?
There is currently no release date for The Crowded Room, but hopefully, we’ll soon learn more as new updates are coming thick and fast.