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Joe and Anthony Russo on casting Tom Holland in 'Cherry', and their new film vs. directing a Marvel movie

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L-R: Joe, Anthony Russo, Tom Holland/Apple TV+

(NEW YORK) — Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have directed four blockbusters for Marvel Studios, including the biggest movie of all time, Avengers: Endgame.

But after that, they got back to their modest-budget beginnings with their new film Cherry. And while the movie is quite different from their blockbuster Marvel movies, it has a common thread: Its star is their onscreen Spider-Man, Tom Holland. 

The movie is based on Nico Walker’s 2018 novel about a young man who drops out of college and joins the Army after suffering a broken heart. He’s eventually reunited with his true love, but his combat PTSD leads both of their lives to spiral into drug addiction and crime.

Anthony Russo tells ABC Audio, “The book…is difficult and dark” — so casting Holland was the key.

“Tom is so likable, so charismatic, such a good actor, he’s the kind of person that…you’re going to forgive for making complicated choices, that you’re going to keep rooting for,” he adds. “And that’s really what this movie needed.”

He notes, “[Y]ou have to make it compulsively watchable and enjoyable, even though you’re taking people to really difficult places.” 

Joe Russo says Cherry is a more “personal…intimate” project for them, because their family — and their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio — has been scarred by opioid addiction.  And despite a reported budget of just 10 million bucks, vs. the $350 million-plus it took to bring Endgame to the screen, the pair relished the freedom Cherry afforded them.

“There’s certainly less volume of information coming at you on a movie of this scale versus a Marvel film,” Joe says. “[On a] Marvel film…you’re perhaps running three to four units all at the same time…the writers are running [rewrites] until midnight every night…[it’s] just a different sort of level of intensity.”  

Cherry comes to theaters today, and debuts on AppleTV+ on March 12.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC Audio.

 

By Stephen Iervolino
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