TV & Movies

Tom Holland’s Bank Robber Character In Cherry Is Based On A Real Person

The film's source material is a semi-autobiographical book by a war hero who went on a crime spree while battling PTSD.

by Jessica Lachenal

Marvel mainstay and Hollywood sweetheart Tom Holland reunited with his Avengers: Endgame directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, in the forthcoming film Cherry, which already had its theatrical run and arrived on Apple TV+ on March 12. As a crime drama, it’s a departure from what the trio have worked on in the past, and what’s more, it’s another opportunity for Holland and the Russos to try something new in that Cherry is based on a true story.

Holland plays the movie’s titular protagonist, a decidedly fictional character based on a decidedly real person, Nico Walker. Cherry is a former army combat medic who returns from the Iraq war with undiagnosed PTSD, and as a result, he turns to opioids as an escape from his issues. But when that habit becomes too much for him financially, he becomes a thief, stealing from banks to fund his drug addiction.

The basis for the film (and for the character Cherry) is Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel, also named Cherry, published in 2018. The film follows the events of the book fairly closely, save for a few key changes, including a completely different ending. While the arc as laid out in the two works aren’t exactly what happened to Walker, a lot of the experiences he writes about are pulled from his own experiences, according to Distractify. He actually wrote Cherry while he was in prison, serving 11 years for his part in a bank robbery that ended in a car crash during a police pursuit, per Digital Spy.

“They were not organized or thought out, they were acts of desperation,” Walker said of robberies in a May 2013 interview with Buzzfeed. “In the shape that I was in, I couldn’t really imagine how I could continue living like I was, but at the same time, I was afraid of addressing the issues and exposing myself because I was ashamed of the state that I was in and just how far gone I was at the time.”

Folks looking to learn more about Walker (and about his life and how it inspired Cherry) can do so via the BuzzFeed profile that details Walker’s life as a criminal and how all of those circumstances led to a book (and now film) deal. Bonus: You won’t spoil yourself for the movie if you read through the profile, seeing as how the film is another layer of detached from Walker’s own real life pursuits.

Cherry premiered in theaters on Feb. 26, before its March 12 streaming debut on Apple TV+.