'Cherry' and the "Front Lines" of the Opioid Crisis: 'THR Presents' Talks to Tom Holland and the Russo Brothers

Holland stars in Joe and Anthony Russo's Apple TV+ feature that explores an Iraq veteran's PTSD, addiction and descent into bank robbery, all filmed in the Russos' hometown of Cleveland: "Shooting there fully immersed us in the experience."

The Hollywood Reporter’s Mia Galuppo sat down with directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and stars Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo to discuss their Apple TV+ film Cherry in a THR Presents Q&A powered by Vision Media.

Having spent the better half of the last decade on massive soundstages and in front of greenscreens due to their work on Marvel films like Avengers: Endgame, it was important for the Russo brothers that they filmed their latest project, Cherry, on location in the Midwest.

"There is a lot of detail we can bring to the film about our experience growing up there," explained Joe Russo. Set in the Russos' native Cleaveland, Cherry, out Feb. 26, stars Holland as a young Iraq veteran, known in the movie as Cherry, whose battle with opioid addiction leads him to become a serial bank robber.

The feature is based on a semi-autobiographical best-selling book of the same name by Nico Walker, also a Cleveland native. In fact, the house where Walker once lived is a block away from the Russos' childhood home. Joe Russo and Walker even worked at the same restaurant, which was actually used as the location in the film where Holland's character works. Joe said it was "critical" the film shoot on-location in Cleveland, being that "it is the most organic connection to what we think is the front lines of this crisis: the industrial Midwest.”

For stars Holland and Bravo, shooting on location became additive to their performances. “Shooting there full immersed us in both the story and the experience,” explained Bravo, who plays Cherry’s onscreen partner and a fellow addict. Said Holland, “Cleveland was a massive charter in this movie,” adding: “There was something about this being in Cleveland and something about it being your hometown. It kind of felt like we were in this little bubble. If we shot this film in L.A., it would have been very different. It would have been a very different quality of life while making this film. It was valuable to making this film authentic.”

This THR Presents is brought to you by Apple TV+; additional Q&As and other supplementary content can be viewed in THR's new public hub at THRPresents.HollywoodReporter.com.