Tom Holland is almost unrecognizable as Nico in some scenes from the upcoming post-war movie Cherry. Avengers: Endgame directors, the Russo Brothers, are behind the upcoming drama, and they knew they had to have Holland in the lead role. The directing duo wanted to tap into the young actor’s charisma and bring it into uncharted and dark waters to keep audiences emotionally invested in their story, which is based on Nico Walker’s novel. “We do think about it as an epic film, and it is very much a person’s life journey,” said Anthony Russo. “But it does have a little bit of a split personality between being this character study and an epic life cycle.”
Cherry will open in select theaters on February 26th before streaming on Apple TV+ in March. We’ve seen a few images from the set of the movie, highlighting Tom Holland’s military look, but the newly released images show off a completely different side of the actor. Tom Holland plays Nico Walker, who comes home from Iraq with severe PTSD, which later turns into an opioid addiction. Anthony Russo had this to say about the story.
“He travels a great distance over a 15-year period. The movie’s broken up into six chapters that reflect those different periods, and each one has a different tone. It’s shot with different lenses, different production design. One’s got magical realism. Another chapter is absurdism. Another is horror… There’s a bit of gonzo in it. It’s raw in its tone. He’s a character in existential crisis.”
According to Joe Russo, Nico Walker’s book “was very, very self-aware, self-deprecating, and self-loathing.” Walker wrote Cherry while serving time in prison over the span of 7 years, injecting much of his personal life into the pages. Like the Russo Brothers, Walker is from Cleveland, and the directing duo found a lot of similarities between their respective stories.
“We’re from Cleveland and Nico’s from Cleveland. Interestingly enough, we know a lot of people that are implied in the book,” Joe added. “I think he’s fictionalized names and personalities. But I worked at the same restaurant that Nico worked at, 10 years apart. So he had a very similar upbringing to us. He just had a very different journey than we did.”
As for getting Tom Holland on board for Cherry, it was a no-brainer for the Russo Brothers. “When Tom walked into the room…what, six years ago? He was younger, raw. His charisma just blew us away. There was an effortless charm to him,” Anthony said. “As an actor, that is very difficult to replicate. He’s just so likable. We knew for this part we were going to need someone of Tom’s charisma to keep the audience from shutting down during the darker parts of the film.” There is plenty of darkness in Cherry, and Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are going to see a completely different side of Holland’s acting. Joe Russo had this to say about the overall story.
“This is a movie that’s supposed to define the experience of having PTSD, the experience of being addicted to opioids. And the mission of the film is to generate empathy, not to generate disdain, not to indict. It was critical that you empathize with his struggle and his journey because a lot of people are going through this, and they’re having a very human experience. I think empathy is in incredibly short supply right now in the world. And it’s a tragedy.”
In addition to Tom Holland, Cherry also stars Ciara Bravo, Kelli Burglund, Jack Reynor, Forrest Goodluck, Jeff Wahlberg, Michael Gandolfini, Kyle Harvey, and Thomas Lennon. For viewers looking to get more of an idea about Nico Walker’s story, the Cherry novel was published in 2018, and is available to purchase now. The new images of Tom Holland come to us from Vanity Fair.