Writers Play Coy on Early Venom Spin-Off Details - Updated!
by Kevin Powers
April 9, 2009
This isn't much of an update on the highly anticipated Venom spin-off, which was spurred by Spidey's dark nemesis appearing in Spider-Man 3; but being that I got to spend some time with screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick during a recent visit to the set of Sony's Zombieland, which they wrote, the topic was assured to come up. If you recall, word got out last July that the pair, who have been friends since high school, were signed on to script the Venom film. When asked about the project, both had the dissatisfying yet expected response: "We can't really talk about it. It's super secret. We're under strict orders."
They did, however, briefly touch on how the deal came about and the lofty journey ahead of them. Reese attributed much of the deal-signing to their recent relationship with Sony and working with the studio on Zombieland. "We've had a really great relationship with them on this… so that was a nice 'in' for us there." While I can't talk about my set visit just yet, I think you can read a lot into Sony's endorsement.
As for tackling what is arguably mainstream material elevated by significant expectation, I asked Reese and Wernick if they were scared taking on the challenge. They replied with, "absolutely," which I deem a pretty respectful answer. Reese added, "It's terrifying. It's source material that everyone knows and everybody's familiar with, and everybody loves. And so there's a burden on you to meet the expectations of people. With Zombieland, you just come out of left field, and they like or they don't. They're not going to feel pissed if you fuck it up." Most people didn't like the way Topher Grace played Venom in Spider-Man 3.
After talking with the guys extensively about their work and experience with Zombieland, I'm feeling pretty confident that Venom is in the right creative hands. I can't wait for more developments and to see what these guys have come up with. That is, if Sony ever gives this project the greenlight, because as we all know, Spider-Man 4 is their top priority right now, and it might be a while before we ever see this spin-off.
Updated: The guys at ComingSoon posted a slightly different update from from the writers on the same set. "Obviously, with a character like Venom there's a ton of stuff to draw from," Rhett Reese told them. "Then they had specific rules about the villain and the backstory and stuff like that, so there were certain things they wanted us… certain parameters they gave us. But largely we pitched them something and they liked it but they had changes, so we worked on the outline for a long time and then we wrote the script."