This year, Tom Holland goes from web-shooting crime-fighter to bank-robbing criminal in Cherry, the newest film directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Avengers: Endgame). Certainly, Marvel's head honchos have earned enough trust in Hollywood to step away from the caped crusaders and tackle a crime drama that's quite a noted departure — thematically and tonally — from what we've seen inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But while a few folks have gotten a sneak peek at this R-rated movie, most viewers won't see Cherry for themselves until it hits Apple TV+ in March, following its limited theatrical release in February. That's still a few more weeks away, but we do know some key bits of info about this two-and-a-half-hour-long Tom Holland starring vehicle.
Here's what we know (so far) about Apple TV+'s upcoming Oscar-hopeful, Cherry.
Cherry Follows An Army Medic With PTSD Who Becomes Addicted To Opioids And Starts Robbing Banks
But what's the plot of Joe and Anthony Russo's Cherry? In this new crime drama, we follow our young title character, Cherry (Tom Holland), an army medic who's suffering from PTSD. As this character movie unfolds, we watch as Cherry becomes addicted to opioids and starts robbing banks in order to subsidize his growing drug dependency.
While Holland has proven his talents in a number of projects, both big and small, this lead performance is already being considered one of his finest yet, and it'll definitely be interesting to see what Holland can do with the Russos outside the role of Spider-Man.
The Movie Stars Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Damon Wayans Jr., Kelli Berglund, And Michael Gandolfini
As we noted earlier, Cherry reunites Tom Holland with his Captain America: Civil War directors. But joining the British actor along the way are Ciara Bravo (Big Time Rush), Jack Reynor (Midsommar), Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl), Kelli Berglund (Lab Rats), and Michael Gandolfini (the upcoming The Many Saints of Newark). Also rounding out the supporting cast are Pooch Hall (The Game), Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!), Michael Rispoli (The Sopranos), Jamie Brewer (American Horror Story), Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant), Jose Pablo Cantillo (The Walking Dead), and Nicole Forester (Chicago Fire).
Cherry Will Be Released In Theaters On February 21, 2021 Then Dropped On Apple TV+ On March 12th
You won't have to wait long to see Cherry in theaters or at home. The crime drama is slated to hit theaters in limited release on February 21st. Thereafter, the latest directorial feature from Joe and Anthony Russo will be available to stream on Apple TV+ starting March 12th. These release dates coincide with the movie's intended awards season rollout. The newfound streaming service could make a mighty big impression with this new high-profile release, and time will tell regarding Tom Holland's Best Actor prospects.
The Movie Is The Russo Brothers’ Directorial Follow-Up To Avengers: Infinity War And Avengers: Endgame, And They Used Their Studio Leverage To Make It Happen
When you make the highest-grossing movie in cinema history, where do you go next? The world is your oyster at that point; you can direct anything that suits your fancy. When it comes to Joe and Anthony Russo, the sibling filmmakers decided to follow-up the enormous one-two punch of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame with Cherry, a notably smaller production that still wouldn't have gotten as much studio funding as it did if it weren't for their blockbuster clout — according to the filmmakers themselves.
Having established themselves as premier filmmakers with 10 years inside the Marvel machine, along with a decade-plus in television and small(er)-budget cinema, Joe and Anthony Russo were ready to cash in on that established goodwill to fund this intimate, personal project. In Hollywood, as Joe Russo noted, it's often one for you, one for them. As these two have made more than a few mega-blockbusters for the studio system this past decade, they finally got to make a movie for them. Now, Cherry is their chance.
Cherry Is Based On The Semi-Autobiographical 2018 Novel Of The Same Name By Nico Walker
Nico Walker's explosive 2018 novel, Cherry, the source material for this new movie, borrows a great deal from the troubled past of its hard-knocked writer. The US Army veteran has served time for bank robbery, and that deep dive into a life of crime served as the inspiration for this book. While the novel is considered "semi-autobiographical," the author also dealt with a history of drug addiction and PTSD, which suggests that there's a great deal of honest reflection inside these pages. While serving his sentence in prison, Walker formed a correspondence with an independent press publisher, who encouraged him to write a book based on his personal experiences. Four years later, the resulting novel, Cherry, hit bookshelves everywhere. And it was an instant success.
After received unanimous praise, Nico Walker's Cherry was the source of an intense bidding war, all while the author stayed behind bars. But we'll discuss that more in a bit.
Nico Walker Was Fielding Movie Right Deals From Prison
With its provocative premise, fresh writing style, and unflinching insights into the life of a bank robber, while also providing some personal reflections on the horrors of war and addiction, Nico Walker's Cherry was the perfect material for a vibrant film adaptation, and it's not surprising to know that it sparked an intense bidding war. The difference with this bidding war to most others, however, was that the author was still in prison when it came time to auction off these well-sought movie rights, as Deadline reported.
Naturally, those restrictions provided some unexpected difficulties, particularly as Nico Walker's phone time was limited and his physical accessibility was also, obviously, limited. Nevertheless, Joe and Anthony Russo rose to the top as one of the most eager auctioneers, and the project was fast-tracked as their Avengers: Endgame follow-up.
Tom Holland Lost A Lot Of Weight To Play The Title Role In Cherry
Like many young performers, Tom Holland is eager to prove himself. While he received the role of a lifetime by playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the ever-evolving Marvel Cinematic Universe, Holland is also ready to express himself as a dramatic performer. We've already seen his dynamic talents in a few smaller productions (comparatively, at least, to the MCU) like The Lost City of Z, The Impossible, and, most recently, Netflix's The Devil All The Time, but this high-profile character movie will really put Holland under the spotlight and allow him to demonstrate the wealth of his expanding and versatile talents. It's also clearly a physically-demanding part for the performer, as he reportedly lost and gained 30 pounds during this involving central performance.
In an interview, Joe Russo talked about the intense weight loss that both Tom Holland and his co-star, Ciara Bravo, went through during their preparation process. He claims it's all part of being "raw" and bringing out the "authenticity" of their performances. Ultimately, that "physical cost" is seen in the final product, according to the director.
The Screenplay Was Co-Written By Angela Russo-Otstot, Joe And Anthony Russo’s Sister
When Joe and Anthony Russo get together to make a film, it's already a family affair. The sibling filmmakers have been collaborating together for decades now, and they're expanding their family outreach with their latest film. That's because Cherry is co-written by Angela Russo-Otstot, i.e. Joe and Anthony Russo's sister. The scribe has previously written for shows like The Shield, Trust Me, V, Day Break, and E-Ring, but Cherry will serve as her first produced feature screenplay. She can also be seen in Joe and Anthony Russo's Welcome to Collinwood and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Additionally, it should be noted that Angela Russo-Otstot penned this film adaptation alongside Jessica Goldberg, who served as the creator of Hulu's The Path and wrote episodes of Parenthood, Away, and Deception. Goldberg's other film credits include Alex of Venice and Refuge. Certainly, Cherry is one of the biggest projects that either screenwriter has worked on to date, and it'll likely be a big boost for Russo-Otstot.
Are you excited to watch Apple TV+'s Cherry? Please let us know in the comments!
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.