In Joe and Anthony Russo‘s upcoming new film Cherry, Spider-Man star Tom Holland plays an Army medic with PTSD who becomes addicted to opioids and begins robbing banks to pay for that addiction. Based on Nico Walker’s autobiographical novel of the same name, it’s a role that may be Holland’s most serious to date and required significant physical transformation. According to Joe Russo, Holland had to lose and then regain 30 pounds for his role in the film, something he did on a very tight schedule and that was only a part of his impressive preparation for the film, which will debut in theaters on February 26th and on Apple TV+ on March 12th.
“Holland really shredded himself for the part,” Russo, who co-directs the film with his brother Anthony, told Deadline’s Behind The Lens. “He lost 30 pounds, he gained it back. We’re on an independent movie schedule here, he didn’t have a lot of time to be doing these things. He worked very closely with recovering addicts, he worked very closely with PTSD experts and soldiers who had suffered from it, how it affected their lives.”
Holland’s character in the film is based on the book’s author Walker who himself suffered from undiagnosed PTSD after returning from military service in Iraq. He eventually became addicted to opioids and robbed ten banks around Cleveland to fund his addiction. Walker was ultimately arrested and convicted of the robberies in 2011 and was released from prison in 2019. Russo has previously praised Holland’s work in Cherry, telling ComicBook.com in April of last year that he gives a “gut wrenching performance” and touched on the emotional and physical transformation the actor took on.
“I think it’s an Oscar worthy performance,” Russo said at the time. “I think he is absolutely amazing in it. He gives a gut wrenching performance. What he does to himself emotionally and physically is unbelievable. We haven’t seen an actor in a role like this in a while. The movie spans a decade, complemented by an epic performance. And one that I certainly hope will be in the Oscar conversation.”
In addition to Holland, Cherry stars Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Kelli Berglund, Thomas Lennon, Adam Long, Jeff Wahlberg, Michael Gandolfini, and Pooch Hall. A first look at the film was released by the Russo Brothers on Friday. You can check that out for yourself here.
Cherry hits theaters on February 26 and will come available on Apple TV on March 12.