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The Secret Weapons Behind One Of Cherry's Most Intense Scenes

One of Cherry's most disturbing scenes was crafted by an important guiding presence.

In Tom Holland's new film — directed by Marvel stalwarts Joe and Anthony Russo — he takes on a his most ambitious role yet, marking a huge change from his turn as the wholesome, friendly Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cherry casts Holland as a troubled Army veteran who returns from the war broken and battered, and eventually turns to a life of crime to support not just his habit, but his family.

Holland went to hell and back for his role as Cherry, losing an inordinate amount of weight and throwing himself fully into an incredible difficult performance... and as it turns out, he had some serious help behind the scenes. Here's exactly how Tom Holland got into character for Cherry to play this complex, layered character, and the secret weapon he had behind the scenes to help him on his journey.

Tom Holland worked with a recovering addict to get into character for Cherry

In a GQ feature by Jonathan Heaf, Holland details how he got into character for one of the movie's most harrowing scenes, where Cherry and his wife Emily (Ciara Bravo) are, as Heaf puts it, "in tatters after a four- or five-day bender, having cracked the safe of a drug dealer and found it full of enough dope to raise the ghost of John Belushi." As Holland told Heaf, "I had to get wired, without getting wired, if you know what I mean? So I got myself a secret weapon. His name was Brian."

Brian, whose last name is not disclosed in the GQ article, is a former addict himself who frequently works with movie stars to help them play characters with dependencies on drugs and alcohol. "He works in a rehab clinic, but he would come to set and advise on things like drug street names, how much certain drugs should cost, what their effect would be to me and how to take them," Holland told GQ. Brian also told Holland some of the daily minutiae of drug use, "like, how an addict would lick the drop of blood off their needle's entry wound on the skin of their inside forearm to get the last possible bit of dope. Or the rush of taking a 'speedball' before a robbery – heroin mixed with cocaine – compared to the sleepy, wooziness of taking just heroin. Stuff that I just wouldn't have known."

Tom Holland used energy drinks for his trickiest scene in Cherry

However, for the scene where Cherry and Emily spend four days on a bender, Holland was definitely nervous about pulling off such a tricky sequence. "I just didn't think I could do it," Holland revealed to Heaf. "I mean, what does it feel like to wake up from a four-day drug bender? I know what a hangover feels like, but this is very different. So I asked Brian and he told me, 'It feels like you want to rip your skin off.' I sat him down and told him I didn't think I could get there. He was like, 'Well, Tom, I am going to fix this for you. I have just the thing...'"

As alarming as that sentence sounds, Brian, obviously, found a safe and legal way to help Holland through the scene. "Anyway, Brian pulls out two small plastic bottles of pre-workout," Holland said. "They're like supercharged energy shots, the kind of thing that gym freaks neck before a big session. Brian told me, 'Drink this.' So I did. And for the next three hours it was like I was plugged into the mains, totally jacked up on caffeine. It felt horrible but it helped me get to where I needed to be. I would steer clear of those things, by the way. They must be impossibly unhealthy."

Cherry is definitely Holland's trickiest role yet, and with Brian's help, he handles the role with aplomb. You can see Holland in Cherry in theaters now, and the film will be available to stream on Apple TV+ on March 12, 2021.