The Russo Brothers made their name one known in households around the world through their work with Marvel Studios. Together, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. When their four-movie run had ended, the duo had delivered a film which is commonly declared as the best Marvel movie in Captain America's first sequel and factually the biggest movie of all time with Avengers: Endgame's box office. Immediately, they moved on to Cherry, an independent film financed under their own AGBO Films banner which did not have to fit into the constraints of any franchises or grander cinematic puzzles.
"Even though Marvel is a bigger endeavor and there's more people involved and it's sort of connected to more ideas and films outside of the ones that you're doing, we can't really function as directors, as storytellers, unless we're making it very personal for ourselves," Anthony Russo tells ComicBook.com. "Because that's the only way we can sort of find meaning in what we're doing and find sort of the motivation to craft the story. So even though those movies were very big, they still were very personal to us, but that being said, you're right in that it's still different with Cherry in the sense that there is no guidelines."
There is no formula or outright point of contact for guidance when making a film about the opioid epidemic, as the duo have done with Cherry. "We know the movie was financed independently, there was nobody involved but us, and we had a lot of freedom. We knew we were dealing with difficult subject matter and it was really important to us to figure out a way to create a movie that people were going to want to see."
Cherry is based on a novel by Nico Walker, exploring the life of a narrator who begins the story in college, serves in the Army during the war in Iraq, and ultimately becomes addicted to heroine. While it's not a comic book like the Marvel films, the Russo Brothers were still operating in the vein of adaptation.
"We felt like it's a movie that should be seen because of the subject matter," Anthony Russo explains. "And then maybe that the movie can play some small part in people's relationship to these difficult issues that the movie's about. So, that was really our thing, was we could use every tool in the toolbox to sort of make a version of this movie that was most exciting and appealing to us without any concern about... Because there's no format for how you deliver a movie about opioid addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. There's not a pattern. There's not a set of expectations that covers what the movie is supposed to be."
Read the full interview with Anthony Russo, talking about his personal journey with i, some of the ambitious filmmaking techniques, and more memories of Marvel Studios efforts, by clicking right here! Cherry is available on Apple TV+ on March 12.
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