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."
Reader Feedback - 38 Comments
I hope they do a great job. They're absolutely right, if this gets fuked up, many will not be happy.
big r on Apr 2, 2009
i hope this movie is better then spiderman 3 because that was a huge upset
Tom W on Apr 2, 2009
I am not all that familiar with Venom, but how does this character work without Spider-man? If Topher Grace is in it I am out, he was even worse than Tobey Maguire in Spider-man 3, and Maguire was BAD, in fact the very suggestion of a 4th movie with that cast makes me cringe.
Kaiser on Apr 2, 2009
For me, it wasn't the way Topher Grace played him -- it was that he wasn't given anything to play. Venom was a shoddy plot device instead of an actual character.
Fuelbot on Apr 2, 2009
I agree with you #4 he didnt really have much of a roll at all until like the last 15 min of the movie, they hyped it up about Venom being in it so ppl would go see the movie but it ended up being the worst out of all 3 movies
Del on Apr 2, 2009
A Venom spin-off is a bad idea. By design, he's supposed to be Spider-Man's opposite number and is really only effective as a character when he is making Spider-Man's life a living hell. Venom cancels out Spidey's spider-sense and (due to their shared relationship with the symbiote) knows everything he knows - including his secret identity and the people he loves. Beyond that, what do you do with him as a character? Turn him into a vigilante with a warped sense of justice? Make him a quasi-hero like they did in the mid-90's? I don't think ANYONE walked out of Spider-Man 3 saying "Venom? Yeah, I'd like to see more of that guy!"
Tom Brazelton on Apr 2, 2009
#6 - I definitely wanted more Venom. Hell, everyone I know wanted more Venom if only because he was truly under-utilized. The things you listed give him more depth and character and REASON to be in that flick than Sandman who was just there to retcon Uncle Ben's death. Beyond that, a Venom movie seems kinda pointless.
Fuelbot on Apr 2, 2009
It has to be a great movie.
ChumashCasinoSanta on Apr 2, 2009
I just think that Venom was awesome in the comics because of the interplay between him and Spiderman, sort of like Sabertooth and Wolverine, both pairs are great because of one another. That being said, I think it's already been screwed up and you can't even really reboot Venom because you need Spiderman to do it properly. I'm hoping this never sees the light of day.
Chickenbone Robinson on Apr 2, 2009
This is just a really bad idea. I actually liked Topher Grace in Spiderman 3. I just not up to the idea of a standalone film featuring the character. chuck
entertainmenttodayandbeyond.com on Apr 2, 2009
Dude...of course everyone "wanted" more Venom. His story was barely brought out in the film. But didn't they have their chance? And didn't they kill him? Unless they start all over there's no point in having a Venom solo film. Are they going to come up with a whole new backstory? (Lame) Are they not going to have Spider-Man in it? (Lame)
Knight Rider on Apr 2, 2009
I'm wondering what they could do with Venom without spiderman. Maybe spiderman 4 will be titled Venom and spider man will take a back seat while venoms origin is explained then the last half of the movie spider man and venom fight.
Dan W on Apr 2, 2009
Without Spiderman, Venom has nothing to do or say... This will be real bad
peloquin on Apr 2, 2009
Seriously, Topher Grace is the most annoying actor alive. He makes me want to blow my brains out.
Rabs on Apr 2, 2009
#10 - There's totally a way to bring Venom back for another Spiderman movie WITHOUT cheating.
Fuelbot on Apr 2, 2009
#7, #10 - I don't disagree that Venom was under-utilized, but you're approaching the concept of a spin-off from a fan's perspective. If you went into Spider-Man 3 without any knowledge of the character or the back story, there is nothing salvageable from how he was presented within movie continuity that would prompt a non-fan to say "I want more!"
Tom Brazelton on Apr 2, 2009
*BIG Sigh* This film is NOT necessary. Marvel swinging for the fences once again.
Sean on Apr 2, 2009
I died inside when Raimi killed part on my childhood in Spiderman 3. Venom IS the most badass villain. Topher is a funny guy but he made Brock a whiney little bitch and Venom barely had any screen time. There is no amount of action,ferocity or tongue whipping goodness that they can put into a movie that will reinstate Venoms' deserved honor.
CLZ on Apr 2, 2009
Frankly, I liked the way Topher Grace played Venom in Spider-Man 3. Don't call me "most people," Kevin. Kthnx.
Nick Gligor on Apr 2, 2009
The biggest disappointment was that they spent so much time marketing the fact that Venom was finally going to face Spider Man and all we got was less than 20 minutes of some lame semblance of Venom. Topher Grace did not have the intensity to pull off the role and Venom wasn't nearly as badass as he should have been. A spin-off is an even worse idea. What are you going to tell about him? We know his origin and he's already faced Spidey. What makes his character great is his interaction with Spider Man, alone there's nothing to say.
SlashBeast on Apr 2, 2009
We basically agree that Venom by topher grace suck. Sam raimi directing spider man 3 suck but what was worse for me was how venom character was ruined. The only thing i could think of a Venom movie being possible is if its possible they put carnage in the movie also. But, i dont know how that would happen. I really dont know how they could create a venom movie when everything nearly involves spider man in the story.
LC on Apr 2, 2009
Why can't some things just be left alone? Not all comics need to become movies... Why don't people just go read the comics? Has our society become that afraid of reading??
nate on Apr 2, 2009
I can't believe that Spider-Man 4 is Sony's top priority! Spider-Man 3 was AWFUL!!!!
Tom V on Apr 9, 2009
Im starting to wonder how many people here STILL read comics . Venom has gone on to do lots without Spider-Man . He has had his own comic run . Yes he has been a anti-hero and then he has joined non Spidey hating teams liek the Thunderbolts and now he is with The Dark Avengers. There is tons they can do with him and it's not hard to say he isint all gone since Connors had a a peice of the symbiote and since the Symbiote seems to grow on it's own it's easy to say it would take someone else over and name themselves Venom (sonce that name wasn't used in the movie). Perhaps the movie takes off with a villian who off camera has been beaten by Spider-Man and the symbiote takes hold(Mac Gargan) . The u have nice smooth transtition into the curent Venom withouth having to change alot . And yes they can have Spider-Man beat someone that isint ina movie because are we supposed to believe int eh few years that the movies take place that he only fights 4/5 big villains? Hell im pretty sure I could write this script on not screw it up . Hell anyone with good Venom knowledge could write it and make it at least much better then SM3
Superchyle on Apr 9, 2009
There can't be a Venom spin-off without Carnage.
Oranges on Apr 9, 2009
If they [the screenwriters] can't make GREAT superheroes interesting, as we saw with SM3, FF1, FF2, Daredevil, Ghostrider, Elektra, Wanted (and so on), what about sub-par secondary characters like Venom? (as much as one could like Venom, its definitely in a different league, and not the 1st one) Venom's return to the big screen is more than unnecessary, and its going to fail big, like these mentioned examples.
Fox on Apr 9, 2009
I think it would be very easy to make a good Venom movie, as long as it wasn't a "spin-off". Just completely disavow any relation to the sickly and dying Spiderman franchise, cast someone talented and intimidating as Eddie Brock, and then make the whole thing about a villain becoming something of an anti-hero while battling his own problems. An engaging anti-hero is always more fun than a lame redemption storyline any day of the week.
Pete the Geek on Apr 9, 2009
These guys sound like a couple of young pushovers that Sony knows they can push around. I don't expect this to be anything more than a PG-13 box office blunder. Sounds like these guys will deter from their artistic vision to please the all powerful studio, but I hope not.
peloquin on Apr 9, 2009
they should get tom cruise to play venom,at least hes gonna be better than Topher Grace lol. and they need carnage as the villian,also maybe a spiderman cameo in parts of the movie. jim carrey will be great as carnage or j.dep there both insane and the movie better be rated r,yeah its gonna pg-13 but it needs a rated r. zack snyder please come and direct this movie,we might also want m.bay for his kool explosions(booooooooooom) if this movIe turns out to be spiderman 3 part 2 its gonna be an epic fail
Spider94 on Apr 9, 2009
This sounds like a really bad idea...
Agent X on Apr 10, 2009
Hmmm... I wanted more venom in SM3, but I don't think this can work. The only way it could is if they do the "Maximum Carnage" storyline where he faces Carnage. Other than that, it will fail, and it can fail even if they do that
Ajax on Apr 10, 2009
The fact that spidey's black costume was not the smae as in the comics showed that SM 3 was going to suck big time. When I went out of the theatre I was so disappointed... SO DISAPPOINTED. Venom was like a little black frog with sharp teeth. They screwed the McFarlane's genius design by removing the white spider. No tongue, no "WE are venom", no green saliva, no big jaw, no big muscles... VENOM... SO NOT VENOM! Topher grace did not matter (he was too skinny though) he could have been saved by a great venom design. I would love to see a Venom movie only if it is done as it is deserved to be done. Spider man is not needed for a Venom spin-off. Venom has gone solo for a long time. So, give venom justice! Redeem yourselves, sony!
Galethog on Apr 10, 2009
They should select a solid actor to portray Venom,Venom/Eddie Brock is Bad ass and needs a bad ass actor to give him the right image.
Fisherr on Apr 10, 2009
HMMMM Spider man 3 big disappointment, although i did like sand mans character very much , as for venom they better pull one hell of a rabbit out of there hat to make me even want to sit in a theater for 2 1/2 hours.
splinter on Apr 10, 2009
#4 is right. Topher Grace was not the problem. I actually thought he played the character right, it was just he was not given enough to work with. The problem with Spidey 3 was that there where too many plots going on at once and one of the main problems with venom was that he didn't have enough screen time and the look of venom was not right with the comics. I have heard Raimi make excuses with not having total control over spidey 3, and that's a load of bullshit. He was only asked to bring Venom into the film. Venom was not the only problem with that film.
Kal-el on Apr 11, 2009
Fantastic news, thank you 😀
Paul on Apr 11, 2009
heres wat they should have done in the 3rd one. they should have brought venom into the story about 45 minutes into the movie with a plot line and take out emo spidey(plus we wouldnt have to be tortured with those god awful dance scenes).then we should have seen venom wreak peters life through out the movie and finnaly end by the real ending of the movie.
cheater on Apr 11, 2009
I can see a Venom movie being really good. As long as they don't get Topher to reprise the role, who butchered the character. This Venom movie is pretty much the only way to bring Venom to the big screen and do him right, since raimi and grace failed miserably, and blew any chance of seeing a good Spider-Man vs. Venom fight for the next 10 years. They need to make him deeply depressed, disturbed, sadistic and psychotic, and get someone big to do the part.
Venomfan on Oct 31, 2009
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.