Home Horror Entertainment News Nick Antosca, Lenore Zion on Bringing ‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ to Life

Nick Antosca, Lenore Zion on Bringing ‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ to Life

by Waylon Jordan
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Brand New Cherry Flavor

Brand New Cherry Flavor is set to debut on Netflix this Friday, August 13th, and we couldn’t think of a more appropriate day for it!

Set in the seedy world of Los Angeles in the early 90s, Brand New Cherry Flavor tells the story of Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar), a young filmmaker who arrives in Hollywood ready to make her big screen dreams come true. When she’s taken advantage of by a hot shot producer (Eric Lange), Lisa turns to a mysterious woman named Boro (Catherine Keener) who sets her on a path that will rip her whole world apart while dismantling his, as well.

The eight-episode limited series was created by Nick Antosca (The Act) and Lenore Zion (Channel Zero), based on the novel by Todd Grimson, and the showrunners sat down with iHorror to discuss the process of bringing this incredibly off-kilter story to life.

BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR (L to R) ROSA SALAZAR as LISA NOVA in episode 101 of BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Antosca became aware of Grimson back in the late ’00s after discovering some of the author’s short stories online. He and Grimson began exchanging emails and the author told Antosca he should check out his 1996 novel Brand New Cherry Flavor.

“I read it and I didn’t know what to expect,” he explained. “I was just sort of taken aback. It stuck with me. The Lisa Nova character stuck with me. She’s this sort of amoral, yet relatable, artist who has got this stuff inside of her that she’s trying to get out into this sort of nightmare world of Hollywood and LA.”

Eventually Antosca took his own trip to Los Angeles where he began working as a writer in movies and television. It was then he met Zion when they were working together on Channel Zero.

Soon, he brought up the novel to Zion who was also unfamiliar with it. His question: is there something here that can be adapted?

“He sent me the book and I read it,” Zion said. “Todd has this sort of unrestrained imagination that is so wild and so fun to read. It’s one of those books that has endless possibilities for adaptation. I think any writer would get excited reading it and imagining what they might do with it.”

BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR (L to R) Executive Producer NICK ANTOSCA and Executive Producer LENORE ZION in episode 102 of BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR Cr. MERIE WEISMILLER WALLACE/NETFLIX © 2021 Photographed November 2020

When adapting a book to another medium, there are several questions to tackle: What do you include from the source narrative? What do you leave on the page? And what do you need/want to add that will help the story translate to the screen while also adding a flourish or two of your own?

They’re difficult questions at the best of the times and perhaps even more so when the source material is as broad and unusual as Grimson’s novel.

As Antosca pointed out, they wanted to remain spiritually faithful to the original, honoring what Grimson wrote in Brand New Cherry Flavor, while paring the story down so that it could be told in one season, rather than five, on Netflix.

“So, we kind of mixed and matched,” he said. “We took the stuff that Todd created. We used some of that. We sent him the scripts as we worked. He was involved in the creative process. Then we brought some of our own stuff to it. I mean like the kittens were not in the book. That was Lenore’s idea. We just kind of fell in love with it. You could take it as a metaphor if you want. There’s a lot of that stuff that came from our own nightmares.”

The kittens…well, we’re not going to tell you about the kittens. We’re just going to tell you to watch Brand New Cherry Flavor to see for yourself.

With the story locked into place, it was important to find exactly the right actors to embody them, and both Zion and Antosca were over the moon at their luck in casting Keener and Salazar to lead their story.

BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR (L to R) ROSA SALAZAR as LISA NOVA and CATHERINE KEENER as BORO in episode 102 of BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR Cr. SERGEI BACHLAKOV/NETFLIX © 2021 Photographed January 2020

“Catherine [Keener] is electric on screen,” Zion pointed out. “She has that thing. She’s got such a unique and skillful delivery of dryness and…there’s nobody who delivers emotion in quite such a unique way as Catherine. We were very lucky to get her. She brought a ton of her personal touches to her character right down to the wardrobe.”

“For Lisa Nova, we needed somebody who could do everything,” Antosca added. “Lisa Nova, the character, can be a bit of a cypher. She’s the protagonist but at the same time, she does some pretty crazy stuff, too. And goes to some really intense places. It’s hard to find an actress who can do all of that, but Rosa [Salazar] can. We were really lucky to get her as Lisa Nova. Her chemistry with Catherine, with Eric Lange who plays Lou, with everybody in the cast is crucial.”

As for the look of the show, they relied heavily upon their director of photography who, Zion says, was crucial to creating the look and feel of the series.

“We got very lucky with our DP Celiana Cárdenas,” she explained. “She is a genius and had a very specific and particular view of the show and the world of the show and she brought it to life beautifully. It looks beautiful because of her. Arkasha Stevenson who directed the pilot, she also contributed this crazy idea of the world that she had already prepackaged in her head somehow. Between those two we got a beautiful world for Brand New Cherry Flavor.”

You can see Brand New Cherry Flavor in its entirety on Friday, August 13, 2021, and we fully recommend a binge! Check out the trailer below and get ready for something like you’ve never seen before!