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Why Cherry Author Nico Walker Isn't Going To Watch The Movie

For authors, having a book adapted into a movie might seem like a dream come true, and to a certain extent, it is. Most people don't mind a big paycheck, after all. But things get complicated when the book is autobiographical, or even just personal to the author. On the one hand, most stories are likely to reach a bigger audience on the silver screen; on the other hand, the director's choices might depart from the author's vision, rendering the new product unrecognizable. That's why authors (and readers) are often unhappy with the movies and TV shows based on their books. (But not always!)

This familiar conflict of creative interests is playing out once again with the upcoming Russo brothers film Cherry, which premiered in theaters on February 26, 2021, and will be available on Apple+ a couple weeks later, on March 12. Cherry tells the story of Nico Walker, a former army medic with PTSD who starts robbing banks to fund his addiction to opioids. 

Star Tom Holland called Cherry the toughest role of his young career, and his performance is already getting Oscar buzz. But the real Nico Walker, who also wrote the book Cherry, has gone on the record as not being totally happy with the film.

Nico Walker just thinks the book is better

In an interview with GQ on February 26, Walker said he wasn't interested in seeing the movie version of his book. He explained that while he was an executive producer on the film and did receive that big paycheck, the filmmakers didn't consult him. "I've seen a little bit of the film," Walker said. "I'm not really trying to see it. I guess the main reason is I have my own idea of what that story is, and I don't want to replace it with somebody else's version. I know that's kind of selfish." Walker didn't specify exactly what the film changed from his book, or even whether the movie diverges from the book significantly. He did go on to say that he hopes the film does well.

The novel Cherry deals with heavy subjects like the Iraq war, PTSD, America's treatment of veterans, and drug addiction. Vulture called the book "the first great opioid epidemic novel." Given the subject matter, it's a bit concerning that the author of the book didn't fully sign off on the film's reinterpretation. But now that Cherry is out in theaters, audiences can see for themselves how the movie compares with the book.