After a wildly successful debut in the MCU, Tom Holland has set his sights on hard-hitting dramatic roles, from Antonio Campos' The Devil All the Time to the upcoming Cherry, which tells the story of a war veteran who returns home suffering from PTSD and takes to a life of crime to support his opioid addiction. In an interview with Esquire, Holland revealed that his experiences while making Cherry taught him some important things about what is wrong with society's attitude towards addiction.
"I think the first hurdle [to dealing with the opioid addiction crisis] would be to stop treating addicts like criminals. People can be addicted to substances for various reasons, and it's a tragic thing when it happens. And yes, that person has made a mistake by taking heroin. But lots of the time, especially here in America, someone will go to a doctor-and a doctor is supposed to be the person who makes you safe and makes you healthy-and say, 'I'm really struggling from PTSD' or 'I'm really struggling from pain in my back' or 'I'm really struggling; I can't sleep at night.' [People with substance-use disorder should be] treated and helped... And I think the companies who are selling drugs to people who are suffering should be held accountable for their actions," said Tom Holland.
Cherry is a passion project for Holland, who lost twenty-eight pounds and underwent a drastic look change in order to properly portray the titular character. The film is also a passion project for Joe and Anthony Russo, who are producing as well as directing the feature, based on a biographical novel by Nico Walker. In a previous interview, Anthony Russo had explained why the novel had hit particularly close to home for them, since it talks about the poor state of addiction management in Cleveland.
"Cherry was different in the sense that [upcoming thriller] Mosul couldn't be further from the personal place that we grew up and Cherry couldn't be closer to it. I think that's what really sparked us to Cherry: We're from Cleveland, the novel is set in Cleveland, it's very specific about a lot of experiences and people that we were close to. Not in the sense that we knew the people from the book but those types that seem very familiar to us. And frankly, the fact that it was dealing with the opioid crisis was very important to us, we know a lot of people who have been affected by it -- that area is kind of ground zero for the opioid crisis -- and it felt very timely and important."
Clearly, both the directors and lead of Cherry had gone all in on making the movie feel authentic and hard-hitting. The response to the movie's trailer has been highly positive, and it looks like the project is going to be another slam dunk for the Holland-Russo creative partnership after their previous collaborations in the MCU.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Cherry stars Tom Holland. The film is slated to arrive on Apple TV+ in 2021. Read the whole interview with Tom Holland at Esquire.