Desperate and unsparing, Cherry is the opioid epidemic in novel form. Set in the eastern Cleveland suburbs where he was raised, Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical 2018 work follows a nameless narrator.Thanks to 250 combat missions in Iraq, the veteran comes home with crippling PTSD and turns to heroin, funding his addiction by robbing banks. Cherry’s hyper-realistic plot attracted Cleveland-born filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo, who bought the rights for a reported $1 million. Before filming starts, here’s the story behind the script.Prison letters
Returning from his own tour of duty in Iraq, Walker battled PTSD and a heroin addiction. In 2011, he was arrested for robbing a Lyndhurst bank, his 10th. After receiving an encouraging letter from a literary press owner, Walker, set for release in 2020, wrote Cherry on a prison typewriter.
With scenes set in a college “with all the Jesuits” (read: John Carroll, where Walker attended) plus drug scores and robberies down Coventry and Mayfield roads, it’s no wonder the Russo brothers planned to film in CLE. But in August, they announced that the October shoot would move to Los Angeles, due to uncertainty over Ohio’s motion picture tax credit after state legislators temporarily pulled it from the budget. Some establishing shots may still feature NEO landmarks. (Update: Since this article appeared in the October issue of Cleveland Magazine, the Greater Cleveland Film Commission announced the film would in fact be shot in Cleveland after the Ohio Legislator reinstated the motion picture tax credit in .)
The Russos have spent a half-decade helming Marvel blockbusters, and they got superhero support for Cherry. Spider-Man franchise lead Tom Holland is set to star in the film, set for release in 2020.