‘Cherry’ Star Tom Holland Recalls the ‘Abuse’ His Body Took for the Role

Tom Holland continues to enjoy superstar status since his breakout role in the hit Spider-Man franchise. He has also played the nerdy hero in other Marvel movies. The actor has basically starred only in blockbusters, and he’s still young. In fact, he landed the role of Peter Parker at just 19 years old, GQ reports.

But a recent role shows Holland doesn’t want to be typecast as an action hero. He’s the star of Cherry, a film whose subject matter strays far from anything we’ve seen from Spider-Man. 

‘Cherry’ is a different kind of movie for Tom Holland 

A screengrab of actor Tom Holland during an interview for 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' on February 23, 2021
‘Cherry’ star Tom Holland during an interview for ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ on February 23, 2021 | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Cherry is a dark film. It’s also the exact opposite of a big-budget blockbuster like the Spider-Man films. The independent film was shot in Ohio. It follows a heroin addict through a kind of love story. There have been films like this before, but Holland adds a new twist to the junkie genre.

He dove into the role wholeheartedly, to the point where he says he wouldn’t take on another role like this. Holland recently told GQ: “This role took me to some of the darkest places I have ever been, emotionally, physically, anythingly … I would never go back there again, not for anyone. I am pleased I did it, but that door is now closed and locked.”

Holland’s journey wasn’t just emotional. To play the role, he also had to look the part physically. That meant losing his well-sculpted Spider-Man physique. 

Tom Holland lost over 20 pounds for ‘Cherry’ 

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Holland knew what he was getting into when he accepted the title role in Cherry. Well, kind of. He understood he would have to change his appearance and get into the mindset of an addict. But he didn’t expect the physical and emotional toll the role would take on him. Holland began by running in a trash bag to drop the necessary weight. 

But that wasn’t enough. Holland is a small guy, and he had to lose 27 pounds for the movie. With his frame, that basically meant starvation. Holland’s trainer advised him to eat only 500 calories and run 10 miles a day. Holland said he hated the experience. “It was awful. Truly. It was only about 10 weeks out of shooting that I realized what I was getting into and what I need to do to transform into the role. So I sat down with my trainer, George Ashwell, and he told me, ‘Right, you need to eat only 500 calories a day and run ten miles. Go.’ Great. It was brutal.”

He said his body went through the wringer 

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Cherry is a small-town drug addict who decides to change his life by signing up for the Marines in 2003. That means he ended up in Iraq. Obviously, a Marine and a heroin addict have completely different physiques. Holland had to have both to shoot the movie. That means first he lost the weight; then he had to gain it all back. That’s no easy feat. According to Holland, that intense focus on weight left him with lasting scars. 

Fans shouldn’t expect Holland to become the next Christian Bale, famous for changing his body drastically for every new role. Holland is glad he did Cherry but said he doesn’t think he could abuse his body like that again. The weight loss and subsequent gain were just too difficult. “And then bulking up, going from a drug addict to shooting scenes as a Marine? I got very sick, actually. And it’s changed my relationship with food completely. I think I would find it very difficult to find a role that would warrant that sort of abuse on my body again.”