Venom – The Story Of Two Antiheroes In One Body

For Eddie Brock, that monster – Venom – is about to be unleashed – and the dark side of his personality will literally come out… and it’s going to be a wild ride.

One of Marvel’s greatest and most complex characters takes center stage as Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) becomes the host for the alien symbiote Venom.

There’s a reason why Venom is one of the most popular characters in Marvel history.  He’s dangerous, he’s scary, he’s unpredictable, his dark wit is matched only by his predilection for violence… and it’s all wrapped up into a package with huge, white eyes, a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, and a long, writhing, muscular tongue.

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As a journalist, Eddie has been trying to take down the notorious founder of the Life Foundation, genius Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) – and that obsession ruined his career and his relationship with his girlfriend, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Upon investigating one of Drake’s experiments, the alien Venom merges with Eddie’s body, and he suddenly has incredible new superpowers, as well as the chance to do just about whatever he wants. Twisted, dark, unpredictable, and fueled by rage, Venom leaves Eddie wrestling to control dangerous abilities that he also finds empowering and intoxicating. As Eddie and Venom need each other to get what they’re looking for, they become more and more intertwined — where does Eddie end and Venom begin?

Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad) from a screenplay crafted by Jeff Pinkner (Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle)  & Scott Rosenberg (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks, Fifty Shades of Grey). Screen Story by Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg.  Based on the Marvel Comics.

At the center of Venom is not one but two antiheroes in one body

Eddie, played by Tom Hardy – the ego-driven, obsessive reporter driven to expose the powerful and corrupt – and Venom, the chilling alien symbiote with incredible superpowers who fuses with Eddie.  Together, they are capable of anything – a terrifying proposition as Venom is fueled by rage.  In a truly symbiotic relationship, they will influence each other, for better or worse…

Venom’s beginnings are the kind every comic creator dreams of: the brash introduction that sparks its own expansive life, thrilling fans every step of the way. Since his first full appearance thirty years ago in The Amazing Spider-Man comic book issue #300, Venom’s super villain persona has become one of the most intriguing and entertaining for Marvel’s dedicated readers.

Initially Venom was portrayed in the Spider-Man comic books as the kind of terrifying antagonist readers would be afraid of, but the opposite happened. Fans fell in love with this outspoken and quirky anti-hero: enormous fangs, merciless mindset and all. Between the arresting look, freaky origins, and dark/light themes, people were hooked, and a fan base was born, driving the character’s own eponymous series and becoming one of the most popular characters in Marvel history.

Now, the character comes to the big screen in his own film.

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Matt Tolmach

According to producer Matt Tolmach, who most recently produced Sony Pictures’ blockbuster nearly billion dollar worldwide hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, something about Eddie Brock, an ego-driven reporter on a bad streak, and the duality offered by Venom – the power to see one’s potential, physically and indelibly – felt relatable as an anti-hero concept.

“Eddie Brock is like so many of us,” says Tolmach. “Eddie was the defender of the innocent looking out for the little man. But unfortunately, he got in his own way. He took shortcuts. He’s got an ego and a temper. He’s impetuous. This movie becomes about being a better version of who he was before, and the only way he becomes better is when he meets up with Venom.”

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Avi Arad

Producer Avi Arad says that Venom’s complicated but entertaining mix of tones offered a chance to make a film that turned the conventions of superhero movies inside out.

“Eddie Brock and Venom are two very different people who together change each other’s lives,” says Arad. “This story is scary, intense and funny as hell. Feels tough, dark, yet light and optimistic, and breaks through the clutter of superhero movies with a unique story.”

Continues Arad, “Eddie influences the good side of Venom.  Venom becomes like Eddie’s conscience.  It takes the good guy and bad guy to influence each other and save the rest of us.”

When director Ruben Fleischer – a Sony Pictures success story with his cult hit Zombieland — took the helm as Venom’s director, the producers knew they had someone with a full grip on how Marvel’s most badass character could make for a rip-roaring movie unlike any other. But the Venom filmmakers also realized that it would take a talented actor to straddle both the personalities of Venom and Eddie Brock.

They got more than they hoped for when critically acclaimed actor Tom Hardy – the man behind some of the most complicated characters in modern film – signed on to star.

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Tom Hardy with director Ruben Fleischer during the filming of Venom

Fleischer sees Hardy as a man of the moment, an actor of his time. Says Fleischer, “Tom is one of the all-time great actors, just so inherently talented and captivating on film. He’s a real movie star, and he is in his prime right now, firing on all cylinders, and brings so much to every look, every moment, every detail, every word.”

Fleischer continues, “He’s just really inspiring. And I think everybody on the crew is just fully invested in how he’s chosen to realize Eddie Brock. And on top of all that, Tom is hilarious, and that was exactly what we needed to bring Venom to life for moviegoers.”

Hardy says that the idea of symbiosis – needing each other to survive – is built into the characters of Eddie and Venom.  “There was a lot of range to play within the psychological dynamics of this superhero movie,” he says. “And I found that to be exciting because it is multi-personality; one is a human character and the other is an alien. I get to play opposite a seven-foot-tall creature. And Eddie Brock has to handle that living inside him. The two of them have a union in one. ‘We are Venom,’ is their mantra.”

Hardy was especially excited about playing this particular character.  “Venom is cool, man – he’s a badass. My son was telling me all about him – he loves Venom.  He’s is a great character to play because Venom is ruthless and, basically, there are no rules.  He’s so complex.”

Arresting, alarming, enormous, and unnerving, Venom is unlike any other character in comics.

As they brought the character to life, they knew that getting the look right was going to be hugely important for many fans.  The teeth had to be sharp, the eyes menacing, and the tongue… had to be off-the-charts creepy.

Indeed, Venom is an unusual leading man in that he’s a combination of human and alien, realized by a similar mixture of the very real and talented Tom Hardy and the similarly real and talented Visual Effects department, but via computer.

Fully realized, Venom is completely CG onscreen, so it was up to two-time Oscar-winning Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Franklin, as well as Visual Effects Supervisor Sheena Duggal, to create a Venom that is visceral enough to wow audiences, and badass enough to get them to root for him. Tom Hardy’s performance would drive the team to create the ultimate all-digital hero character.

What is A Symbiote?

Symbiotes are highly intelligent life forms, not simply blobs of goo.  They can withstand different temperatures and are completely adaptable aliens.

When symbiotes take over a host, they’re absorbed through the skin, liquefying and traveing through the membrane of the skin to get inside and effectively bond to the central nervous system, distributing itself across the spinal cord and major nerve junctions in the host body. It then expresses itself again back through the skin to form a shell around the human body.

Each symbiote only has the ability to merge with certain people, similar to the specificities that dictate organ transplants. It needs to find the right match. In this story Eddie and Venom are one such perfect match.

When a symbiote inhabits a human, it eats the human from the inside. For the human to survive, the symbiote eventually needs to be extracted.

In Venom the symbiotes have their own plan, as they have allowed themselves to be captured and brought back to earth, so they can scout it out, and see if it’s a suitable place for them to come in mass, go on a merging spree, and perpetuate their kind.

In the Venom film, there are four symbiotes: the black Venom symbiote, a blue symbiote, a yellow symbiote, and a silver symbiote called Riot. The Riot symbiote inhabits Carlton Drake, and in the climax of the film, Venom and Riot go head to head in a battle only symbiotes could endure.

The Creative Team

Ruben Fleischer (Director) directed his first feature, Zombieland, a “zom-com” about the post-apocalyptic zombie world starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray. His second film, 30 Minutes or Less, is a twisted dark comedy starring Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson and Michael Peña. Afterwards, he directed Gangster Squad, a period action film starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Josh Brolin.  Fleischer will next reunite the cast of Zombieland for the sequel.

On the TV front, Fleischer is partners in the TV company The District, based at ABC Studios. Their first show, “Superstore,” is returning for its fourth season, and their second show, “The Bold Type,” is returning for its third season. He also directed the pilots of the series: “American Housewife” for ABC and “Santa Clarita Diet” for Netflix. Prior to that, Ruben co-created and executive produced the hit reality MTV shows, “Rob & Big” and “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory.” Fleischer is also an award-winning commercial director, having shot campaigns for almost every major ad agency.

jeff-pinkner-fJeff Pinkner (Screenplay / Screen Story) graduated Northwestern in ‘87 and Harvard Law School in ‘90. He spent five years writing for J.J Abrams’ hit ABC spy series “Alias,” becoming showrunner in the series final two seasons. He then helped create the Emmy and Golden Globe winning ABC series “Lost,” working as executive producer in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, Pinkner began developing the FOX science fiction series “Fringe,” serving as co-showrunner through the show’s fourth season.

His notable awards and nominations include Emmy, WGA, AFI, People’s Choice, and Hugo Awards. Most recently, Pinkner co-wrote The Dark Tower with Akiva Goldsman, based on the Stephen King series of novels, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with Scott Rosenberg, starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan.

Pinkner remains active in television where he writes and produces under the Midnight Radio banner with his partners André Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, and Scott Rosenberg. Current series include “Knightfall” for History, and the “Origin” for YouTube Red. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

LOS ANGELES, CA. Scott Rosenberg. Portrait of Scott Rosenberg photographed at his Los Angeles home.

Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg

Originally from Boston, Scott Rosenberg (Screenplay / Screen Story) has written the screenplays Things to Do In Denver When Your’e Dead, Beautiful Girls, Con Air, Disturbing Behavior, Gone In 60 Seconds, and Highway.

He co-wrote High Fidelity and Kangaroo Jack. In television, Rosenberg co-created the ABC shows October Road, Life On Mars, and Happytown.

Currently, along with his partners in the company, Midnight Radio, Rosenberg has the summer series Zoo, based on the James Patterson novel, which just finished its third season on CBS; Knightfall at A&E/History Channel due to premiere December 6th this year; and Everything Sucks! at Netflix due to premiere in 2018.

In addition, Rosenberg co-wrote Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart and adapted the Andrew Smith novel, Grasshopper Jungle, which has Edgar Wright attached to direct at Regency.

kelly_marcelOriginally from an acting background, Kelly Marcel’s (Screenplay / Executive Producer) first major screenwriting breakthrough came when her TV show “Terra Nova” was the subject of a bidding war, culminating in Steven Spielberg producing it as a £60m 13-episode series for Twentieth Century Fox.  Kelly subsequently wrote the feature screenplay Saving Mr. Banks, charting the extraordinary and true story of the twenty-year struggle to bring Mary Poppins to the screen. Saving Mr. Banks was produced by Walt Disney Pictures & Ruby Films, directed by John Lee Hancock, and starred Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell.   The film was nominated for a Best British Film BAFTA and Kelly was nominated for the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut. Kelly followed that by adapting E.L. James’ literary phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey into an international box-office smash for Universal taking $571 million worldwide. The film was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.   Projects in development include an adaptation of the novel The Changeling with Annapurna and FX, Cruella for Walt Disney Pictures, Spider and the Fly with Anonymous Content and Kelly will make her directorial debut with her adaptation of the book Mr. Chartwell for Endor Productions.