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There's no denying that Tom Hardy movies bring with them that little something extra, and now, with news that Michelle Williams has joined the cast, the Venom movie is promising great things. Which is actually quite a turnaround for a film that has been in development hell, that particularly torturous place in Hollywood where projects seem like they're moving forward, but never quite do. But then something happens that changes everything, and media yawns are replaced by genuine excitement.
A perfect example happened back with the original Iron Man in 2008. The film had first been put into development in 1990 at Universal, went to Fox in 1996 where Nicolas Cage expressed interest in starring as Tony Stark. Two years later it was Tom Cruise, and then the project moved New Line Cinema in 2000, where the studio began having talks with Joss Whedon about directing. And then, in 2005, Marvel Studios was launched, stating its intent on making the film. Fifteen years after the first conversations began. The difference here? Robert Downey, Jr. was cast in the title role. Suddenly everybody was taking this seriously—and, as it would turn out, with good reason.
Flash forward to 2017, and something similar has happened with Sony's Venom, the Spider-Man villain of the same name who's getting his own film. The character—an alien symbiote that briefly bonded with Spider-Man who served as its host—eventually bonded with others, while maintaining a Spidey look (albeit a much darker version).
Michelle Williams, currently on screen in Hugh Jackman' The Greatest Showman, is playing Ann Weying, ex-wife to Hardy's Eddie Brock and a lawyer, who ends up getting shot. Her life is saved by the symbiote, which joins with her, transforming Ann into She-Venom (no clue if this story is part of the film).
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The character of Venom first appeared on film a decade ago in Spider-Man 3, and at the time producer Avi Arad announced that development of a standalone film featuring the character was underway. Ten years in development hell, and now Hardy, under the directorial guidance of Zomebieland's Rube Fleischer, is playing the role.
For the record, that's a really big deal. Hardy, a chameleon of an actor, is known to genre fans for his roles as Shinzon in Star Trek: Nemesis, Eames in Inception, Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road. He was last seen in this past summer's World War II drama Dunkirk.
Hardy's Eddie Brock is a reporter who blames Spider-Man for ruining his career, and whose hatred for the webscrawler is more than enough for the symbiote to bond with him and try to take Spidey on.
In a letter to Wizard magazine, writer David Michelinie described the origin of Brock's Venom, noting that the character's first appearance was in the Web Of Spider-Man comic book. "In an epilogue sequence in which Peter Parker was pushed in front of a subway train, and was spooked by the fact that whoever did it, didn't trigger his Spider-sense," he writes. "I'd planned to make the mysterious attacker female, and her background was entirely different from the character who would ultimately become Venom, but the basic idea was still there: someone who hated Spider-Man had joined with the alien symbiote to try to kill our hero."
The idea was next dealt with in Amazing Spider-Man #300, which featured the idea of Eddie Brock. "I made the character male," Michelinie continued, "and came up with the Eddie Brock persona to fit the new origin. The name 'Venom' was then derived from the venomous stories the character was forced to write for sleazy tabloids."
Venom will be the first of a number of films that will take place in the Spider-Man universe, although, interestingly, it's not at all connected to this past July's Spider-Man: Homecoming.
It's scheduled to reach theaters on October 5, 2018.