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From heroes to heroin: The Russo brothers assemble for ‘Cherry’

April 26, 2019 marked quite a day for box office history.

“Avengers: Endgame” amassed $2.174 billion worldwide, the highest in theatrical revenue. Lately, the names Anthony and Joe Russo have been ubiquitous after their directing enterprise—consisting of 4 installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—defined childhoods across North America.

Now, the duo is venturing off into darker artistic territories, away from the innocent sagas of good versus evil. Their next highly anticipated project, “Cherry,” will star Ciara Bravo, Bill Skarsgård and Jack Reynor with Tom Holland playing the lead role.

“Cherry,” is a semi-autobiographical novel by decorated war veteran turned heroin-addicted bank robber, Nico Walker. The 2018 novel has played an integral part in pop literature for shedding light on victims of the opioid epidemic. However, the word “victim” in this instance is not the tone the author intends on establishing. Walker writes in a way that suspends himself from self-pity.

The narrative timbre of “Cherry” can be analogized as “The Catcher in the Rye” meets “The Hurt Locker.” This is the story of a kid from a middle-class family whose apathy towards his otherwise affluent life is sporadically savored by ruinous romances and streaks of pointless hedonism.

Initially, the novel seems to be a study on those who somehow slip through the fine cracks we cautiously hop over in life. On paper, his societal position could spark envies in those less privileged. Our protagonist recognizes his assets and almost deliberately sabotages them.

Therefore, you’ll be getting a character with a unique voice; an intelligent, sensitive and introspective young man with charming candor and no idea the perilous journey he is to embark on.

According to the American Addiction Centers, veterans are twice likely to die from an opioid overdose than civilian Americans. Walker stated in an interview that, at a point, his greatest fear was to be placed in a position where he would not have access to heroin. Walker’s main priority is to tell the American public what the Iraq War really was: a story that conveys the disorder of American militarism and the noxious effects on its survivors.

The Russo brothers and screenplay writers Jessica Goldberg and Angela Russo-Otstotmay may have to overcome the challenge of achieving authenticity and evading the temptation of tropes and romanticizing our self-proclaimed “scumbag” of a protagonist. The war scenes that were so brilliantly brought to life in the novel will also need to be compelling enough to truly bring the audience to an understanding of PTSD and survivor’s guilt. Also, how “the soldier” habituated with a militant lifestyle must adjust to function in society.

As for Holland, this could be a landmark role in his career. The young actor recently acclaimed for playing our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man can now demonstrate some serious acting chops. Expect me to be there opening night!

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