Opening in theaters today (Friday, Feb. 26)–and before premiering on Apple TV+ next month–is Cherry, a drama based on the best-selling semi-autobiographical novel by Nico Walker.
Tom Holland stars as the title character, a young Cleveland man who joins the Army after his girlfriend announces she is going away to college. He returns home from Iraq with PTSD, develops an opioid addiction, and eventually turns to bank robbery to support his habit.
The often harrowing film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, making it the first motion picture directed by the Cleveland-born brothers since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the highest grossing movie of all time. Endgame capped a run of four hugely successful Marvel entries for the Russos, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
Holland made his debut as Spider-Man in Civil War and also worked as Spidey with the Russos on Infinity War and Endgame. Speaking with Den of Geek to promote the arrival of Cherry, Holland told us that he took the title role, which is about as drastically different from Peter Parker as one can get, partially because of the relationship he developed with the brothers.
“Knowing that the Russo Brothers were going to be there to support me through the job is what kind of tipped me over the edge into saying yes,” Holland says. “But my initial response was, ‘I don’t think I’m the right person for this job because I don’t know if I can do that.’”
Holland says that the growth of his relationship with the Russos on the Marvel films, as well as his own level of confidence, is what gave him the impetus to sign onto Cherry.
“I had that element of awe when it came to the Russos because they were the directors of the Avengers films, and I was still very much the new kid on the block when I was making those films,” the actor explains. “It was really nice for me to get to know them both on a more personal level, and obviously, that level of trust grew as the film progressed.”
Holland adds that his working and personal relationship with the Russos–having collaborated with them on four movies–is such that he’s ready to show up anytime they ask.
“It’s now to the point where Joe and Anthony could ring me up, and I would be on set with them in a heartbeat,” Holland says. “The trust between the three of us definitely grew.”
Holland is currently filming Spider-Man: No Way Home with director Jon Watts — who has directed Holland in the star’s two previous standalone Spidey movies–and while the Russos don’t currently have any plans to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (where Holland is slated to show up in at least one more movie), it sounds like Cherry isn’t the last collaboration we’ll see between them and Holland either. Perhaps if Marvel lures the brothers back for Secret Wars one day…
Cherry is out in limited theatrical release now and will premiere March 12 on Apple TV+.