Tom Holland on the ‘very freeing’ experience of playing drug-addicted anti-Peter Parker in ‘Cherry’

Tom Holland isn’t done with Peter Parker. In fact he has been actively conducting the hype train for this year’s threequel, Spider-Man: No Way Home, calling it the most ambitious standalone superhero movie ever made, telling us he spent a month shooting the “most impressive fight scene I have ever seen in a superhero movie,” and even trolling fans with a fake title release.

But the popular 24-year-old Brit has been awfully prolific in between web-slinging stints, voicing roles opposite Robert Downey Jr. (Dolittle), Will Smith (Spies in Disguise) and Chris Pratt (Onward), getting sinister with Robert Pattinson in The Devil All the Time and fawning over Daisy Ridley in this week’s long-delayed sci-fi adventure Chaos Walking. But it’s Holland’s other new release this week — the dark drama Cherry — that marks the actor’s furthest departure from the squeaky-clean Parker.

Directed by A-team Marvel directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Winter Solider and Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame) and based on the novel by Nico Walker, the R-rated thriller stars Holland as a pill-popping, sex-having, bank-robbing, dope-fiending Iraq war veteran.

“It’s very freeing to be able to play a character with no boundaries, there was no limit to how far we could go in bringing these characters to life,” said Holland in a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, where he was joined by costar Ciara Bravo (watch above). “When you’re making a Spider-Man movie, there is an audience that you have to cater to, and there’s only so far that you can push these characters into deeper and darker places.”

Tom Holland in ‘Cherry’ (Apple TV+)

With portrayals of war, post-traumatic stress disorder and heroin/opioid addiction, Cherry deals with some brutally heavy content, which took a toll on Holland.

“When it came to the emotional aspect of making this film, there were no easy days, there were no light days,” Holland said. “Especially when we were going through the dope life portion of the film. It required Ciara and I to kind of push ourselves to emotional places that I didn’t really know I had me in times.

“I remember doing a few scenes and them calling, ‘Cut!’ and being like, ‘I didn’t know I had that in me.’”

Bravo plays Holland’s girlfriend-turned-wife, who also falls into the deep doldrums of addiction.

“I think it’s also important to note that there is an aspect of hope in this film,” she said. “And keeping that in mind while shooting was really helpful to keep my head above water and make sure that I could continue to tread as long as I needed to to keep going forward.”

Cherry is now playing in theaters and premieres on Apple TV+ March 12.

Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo.

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