As it relates to Holland’s role in Cherry, based on the author Nico Walker’s 2018 semi-biographical best-selling book of the same name, the filmmakers knew the actor’s abilities to get the audience emotionally involved in his character’s plight weren’t limited to tearful scenes and totally-good characters. Indeed, Holland is also capable of doing that even when his character’s actions – driven by desperate circumstances — are reckless, dangerous, and illegal.
“What’s clear to us is that there’s a lot of compassion and empathy around him as an actor. So, when we read the book, we knew it was going to be a very difficult movie for people to watch. [However], we don’t like when people intellectualize the experience,” Joe Russo told Looper. “We’re filmmakers and would prefer the audience to have an emotional experience while they’re in the theater, and you’ll intellectualize it if it’s too difficult to watch.”
The director added, “If you aren’t empathizing with the lead character, it will become a study for you rather than an emotional experience. And we knew that Tom could engender that kind of empathy that’s required to take the audience on a really dark journey like this.”
Cherry, which also stars Ciara Bravo as Emily and Jack Reynor as Pills and Coke, opens in select theaters in the U.S. on Friday, February 26 before debuting globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, March 12.