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Tom Holland, the Russos and Ciara Bravo on Cherry and the opium crisis

The directors and protagonists of Cherry tell us about their characters, working with the Russos and addictions.

Cherry is the first project of the Russo brothers , aka the gods of modern cinema, after the success of Avengers: Endgame , and it is a story with which they are personally connected and that put each and every one of those involved to the test.

Cherry tells the story of an unnamed protagonist, who begins as a teenager who decides to join the army to recover from a love breakup, and ends up as a man with PTSD and an opium addict who must carry out a series of robberies to survive. , cover his addiction, and eventually protect the woman he loves from a dealer who wants his money back and will stop at nothing to get it.

The film is based on Nico Walker’s novel of the same name and stars Tom Holland, who returns to work with the Russo brothers after the Avengers saga, and Ciara Bravo, who plays the most important woman in the world. life of our “hero”.

The story is intense, it talks about PTSD, the opium crisis, toxic relationships and desperate acts to survive and sustain an addiction, and it is nothing like what Holland or Bravo have done before. Cherry is without a doubt a project that can change lives.

Via a video call, Ciara Bravo (whom the children of the 2000s will remember from the series Big Time Rush) explains that: “When I received the opportunity I was equally intimidated and excited, these are the type of projects that have a dream role for an actress , being able to make different versions of the same character, it is very rare that you receive that opportunity and in addition to that the writing was so dense and so incredible, it had so much to use and it had great wealth in relation to who Emily was and what led her to all those different places in his life “

For the Russos , who presented their first post-Endgame project with Cherry , it was not so much a choice, but a movie they had to make to put a personal issue on the table. “” I don’t think we chose him, rather he chose us. It is a very personal movie and we have been dealing with friends and loved ones who have been affected by the opium crisis, some have died and others continue to have problems with their sobriety, so it has been something that has been present in our lives and we needed do this as a form of catharsis for ourselves, “says Anthony Russo.

Cherry arrives on Apple TV in March (the 12th) with a crazy visual style and an intense story that is difficult to see, mainly because we have two characters who are in a vulnerable moment that leads them to lose themselves and become one more point of the statistics of the opium crisis.

Ciara Bravo plays Emily, Cherry’s partner (Holland’s character who actually has no name) who, after he returns from the war, ends up being dragged into addictions and trapped in a clearly toxic relationship. To prepare for the role, the actress tells us that: “I did a lot of research before I started, especially regarding the addiction aspect, I wanted to do this with as much respect as possible because it is a journey that many have gone through and I did not want to. To make it look light or glamorous, I wanted to make sure I created an honest and accurate portrait, and it was intimidating because there is so much responsibility in telling a story like this. “

What were the stories that impacted you? “I was lucky enough to be able to go to a rehab center in Cleveland where I spoke with patients who wanted to share their stories, there I ran into a nurse who had a similar story to Emily’s and I am so grateful that I couldn’t have done it without she simply told me all these details, moments and mental processes that you do not know if you have not been there yourself. I also met another woman who gave me great insightShe told me that in all these movies in which they show you the drug disease and they show it to you in a very slight way, you see a lot of vomit, but you don’t see the rest, when in real life a lot happens. She told me: I just want to see a woman with diarrhea on screen. I don’t know how to say it without sounding vulgar, but that’s because it is and it’s part of the experience, so we had to include that. “

In the case of Tom Holland , who gives one of his best performances in the film, preparation was essential. “It was very important to me that I knew as much as possible about this problem that is PTSD and substance abuse, so I sat down with about 30 people who were going through this and were in different stages, to listen to them and learn from their experiences, how they felt, and the physical changes they experienced. The more I knew the more I felt prepared to carry out this project ”, he explains.

How do you “turn off” a character like Cherry when leaving the set? Holland says : “I think that has to do with the way the Russos run their sets, they are very nice to their actors and create an environment that feels safe, where making mistakes is not a problem, because some of the better ideas came out when we made some mistakes. It was clear that this was a movie and that we would have to delve into these very dark emotions, but it was easy to get out of that in the end because your friends were there, your family was there and they were all there to help you through the process. I was lucky to be able to leave the character at work ”.

The Russo brothers have talked before about the possibility of Holland taking an Oscar for this film, but the actor almost did not accept the role because he was convinced that it was not for him. “I was very apprehensive, my first reaction was that I was not the right man for the job, I remember thinking why did they offer me this job? there is no way I can do it, and then I convinced myself that I could do it and had the support to do it. It’s very different from Spider-Man and it’s complicated, but I really enjoyed it and it was a challenge that I was willing to take on, ”she says.

What if the predictions of Russo on Oscar become reality? “It would be something incredible, it is one of the greatest honors an actor can receive, and I am grateful just that someone mentioned it, it is very nice to hear it, but I am learning to control my expectations and I remind myself that I only have 24 and that I have a long career ahead of me, so if it’s not this, hopefully it will be another project in the future. Just being part of that conversation is a great honor, ”says the actor.

The Russo’s idea as long as Cherry “was about his subjective experience, because one thing we love about the novel the film is based on is that the character has an internal monologue and an internal experience of what is happening to him. and what is happening around it, which is very different from the external experience, and the tension between those two perspectives is where the most interesting and tragic elements come from, ”says Joe , who also explained that this is why the film It is divided into parts with very different styles, and that is why we also have Tom as a kind of storyteller who guides us on his own journey.

And Holland may have had his doubts, but the directors were sure of his choice from the start. “ It was always Tom , it’s difficult material and we knew it would be difficult to watch, we don’t like it when people intellectualize the experience of going to the movies, we like to keep them emotionally connected so they can have a more intimate experience and we didn’t know how to do this without Tom. he is so charismatic and empathetic so we knew that even when the character makes tough decisions throughout the movie you could follow someone like Tom Holland and he would take you on that journey and you would feel a lot of things for him, you could empathize with the character principal and his fight against addiction, ”says Anthony Russo.

“We have a problem in this world today where we separate, we tend to demonize and we lack empathy, and that is causing chaos, so we believe that the media is a powerful weapon and we try to use it to say something and shine a little light. on this problem and make it part of the conversation, ”the director ends.

And who is Bravo and Holland’s favorite Russo brother?

Ciara tells us that “It’s like trying to choose your favorite son. I can’t choose a favorite Russo , they are both equally amazing for very different reasons, so I can’t have a favorite. “

For his part, Holland says that “Impossible to answer. They are both so funny and good to me, they changed my life, so I couldn’t answer. “

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