Directors Joe and Anthony Russo are currently in the middle of one of the most herculean filmmaking attempts of all time, but they’re already setting their sights on life after Marvel. The duo, whose credits range from Arrested Development to Community, made their Marvel debut directing the well-received Captain America: The Winter Soldier. After the success of that film, they came back to direct the next Captain America movie, which turned out to be something of a mini-Avengers film: Captain America: Civil War. When they proved they could handle such a massive ensemble, and with Joss Whedon exhausted after making Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Russo Brothers were tapped to direct the biggest Marvel movies thus far: Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4.
The Russo Brothers shot Infinity War and Avengers 4 back-to-back throughout 2017, and with Infinity War released, their attention is currently on post-production and additional photography of Avengers 4. That super secretive film hits theaters in May 2019, but it sounds like the filmmakers are looking to switch things up for their next directorial effort.
Per Deadline, the Russo Brothers’ production company AGBO is in negotiations to acquire the film rights to author Nico Walker’s just-published book Cherry, winning a bidding war that also included a James Franco-directed package from Warner Bros. Based on the author’s own life experiences, the story revolves around an Iraq War veteran who returns home with undiagnosed PTSD, falls into opioid addiction, and begins robbing banks. He’s currently behind bars and is scheduled to be released in 2020.
Deadline says the Russos are looking to make this the next film they’ll direct, and while some Marvel fans may think this is a significant change of pace, it’s actually pretty in line with the filmmakers’ own tastes. The Russo Brothers have made no secret of their love for gritty, grounded films from the likes of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, and while that has seeped through into their Marvel films a bit, Cherry gives them the opportunity to make a genuine hardened drama without the superhero genre packaging.
Jessica Goldberg (The Path) is currently scripting Cherry, and if all goes well, it’s possible the Russos could get into production on this sometime in the second half of next year, after Avengers 4 is released and their press duties are complete.
It’ll be interesting to see if they stick around Marvel Studios in a consulting capacity like Jon Favreau, or if they opt to focus their attention on their own studio and films. Whatever the case, Cherry and the Russo Brothers is an exciting marriage of material and filmmakers.