Russo Brothers to Film Adaptation of Nico Walker's 'Cherry' in Northeast Ohio

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PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Photo by Gage Skidmore
The masterminds behind Avengers: Endgame, which yesterday became the highest-grossing film of all time, are taking their talents closer to home.

The Russo Brothers, who grew up in Cleveland and later graduated from Case Western Reserve University, announced their plans to film an adaptation of Nico Walker's 2018 novel Cherry at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend.

The duo have chosen Spiderman star Tom Holland to star in the film. Deadline reports that filming is set to begin in October around Cleveland, where much of the novel takes place.

Having lost friends to the opioid epidemic themselves, the brothers were inspired to bring Walker's story to the big screen.



"It's a story about drug addiction and the opioid crisis," Joe Russo said in the comic-con panel. "It's touched us both; it's a deeply personal movie for us. The gent who wrote the book went through the same growth arc in the same part of the city we grew up in — but different experiences." 

Cherry tells the story of an army medic who spirals out of control after returning home with severe undiagnosed PTSD, eventually becoming addicted to painkillers and heroin. Desperate to maintain his addiction, he resorts to robbing banks.

Walker wrote the semi-autobiographical novel in prison, after being contacted by Matthew Johnson who had seen an in-depth profile of Walker that appeared in BuzzFeed in 2013. With the help of Johnson, Walker began the arduous process of composing his novel via typewriter and revising by hand. After several years, he sold the finished novel to Knopf for publication.

The Russo Brothers' company, AGBO Studios, acquired rights to the film last August in an auction that Walker participated in over jailhouse phone until his minutes ran out. He gets out of prison in 2020.

Scene
profiled Walker in 2018. You can read that story here

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