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Russo Brothers Wouldn’t Have Directed Cherry Without Tom Holland

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Cherry directors Anthony and Joe Russo explain why they couldn’t have made the movie without Tom Holland in the lead role. Collaborating with the Spider-Man star once more in their first feature since Avengers: Endgame, the Russos are adapting the story of an army medic who finds himself struggling with opioid addiction after returning home. In order to maintain his drug habit, Holland’s character resorts to robbing banks. Based on the novel by Nico Walker, with Angela Russo-Otstot and Jessica Goldberg writing the script, Cherry also stars Ciara Bravo and Jack Reynor.

Acquired by Apple TV+ in September of last year, the movie will have a theatrical run on February 26 and then it will available to stream on March 12. Although still weeks away for most audiences, the promotion is underway in earnest. There have been various Cherry posters, hinting at the complex narrative, and the Russos have shed light on the challenges of bringing such a distressing novel to the big screen. In a new interview, the Russos revealed that they likely wouldn’t have made Cherry without Holland’s involvement.

The revelation came as part of an interview with Variety, in which the directors were asked if they had always envisioned Holland for the lead role in the adaptation. Answering in the affirmative, Anthony Russo elaborates on why they likely wouldn’t have made Cherry without Holland. You can read his quote blow.
“I don’t even know that Joe and I wanted to commit to doing the movie at all until we thought of Tom in the role. The book is dark, very complicated, and that’s what its value is. We wanted to make this movie because it speaks to very relevant and current issues dealing with opioid addiction that has to do with the military experience, the modern military experience. It was a very original take on those experiences, specific to the modern generation. We wanted to do a version of the movie that was palatable, not like taking your medicine. Tom is so likable. He’s such an appealing actor, and so good. Once we started thinking about him as a character, the whole movie opened up for us as a possibility because he was our road to an accessible, exciting, enjoyable version of a difficult film.”

That tone is evident in the official trailer for Cherry, which alternates between several modes. The preview alternatively teases a love story, a war movie, a crime saga, and an intimate character study. But despite its mashup of tones, not to mention the weighty subject matter, the anticipation surrounding the Apple TV+ drama resembles the kind of excitement and curiosity typically reserved for a superhero film or a tentpole blockbuster. The history that the Russos have established with Holland helps, from their work in the MCU, but Holland has his own track record of connecting to broad audiences through narratives that might be difficult for other actors.

In his first live-action performance, in 2012’s The Impossible, Holland played a young boy that had to find his strength in the wake of a devastating natural disaster. Appearing to eschew genres that might be expected from an actor on the rise, appearing often in historical dramas and familial sagas rather than romantic comedies or potboiler action flicks, Cherry represents a chance for Holland to return to the portrayals he was known for prior to Spider-Man: Homecoming.

It’s too early to tell whether Cherry succeeds in showcasing all of its different genres, while also honoring its source material. Early impressions of the drama have been mixed so far, but the reaction to Holland’s performance has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of those who have seen the movie, including Robert Downey Jr., have expressed effusive praise and some have even argued that an Oscar nomination is inevitable. Judging by his past filmography and his more recent output, it’s safe to say that the Russos made the right choice by going with Holland.
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