Tom Holland on his fears making ‘Cherry,’ now Oscar buzz (interview)

Whenever we see Tom Holland on screen, he’s usually saving people as Spider-man, but in his new film “Cherry” (opening in theaters on Feb. 26 and debuting on Apple TV+ on March 12), he’s suddenly the poor soul who needs help. In “Cherry,” Tom Holland gives the most impressive performance of his career portraying a former U.S. soldier bedeviled with PTSD and a heroin habit so severe that he’s robbing local bank branches to keep his dealer paid.

“As an actor and as a young man, I’m always looking for things that challenge me in performances that can push me in ways I haven’t been in the past,” he says in our chat above with my Gold Derby colleague Rob Licuria. “And actually taking on a film like ‘Cherry’ comes with its own set of challenges for me. At the beginning, I was very nervous and apprehensive. There were lots of physical challenges, losing the weight, trying to make sure that I looked and felt like someone who was abusing heroin and drugs and someone who was suffering from PTSD. There were the emotional challenges of trying to maintain this.”

Holland is getting raves for the result. Here, in ‘Cherry,’ Holland proves he’s got the ultimate power to make the leap from superhero to Michael Keaton, George Clooney and other actors who’ve ripped off the spandex and proved they can be esteemed thespians, even an Oscar-nominee (Keaton) and winner (Clooney). Now Holland is even really getting his own serious Oscar buzz in the current derby. It’s not likely to pay off in such a crowded year with too many frontrunners, but Holland’s name keeps popping up now and then. We’re watching  a real star being born.

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