Tom Hardy to Star in 'Venom,' Ruben Fleischer to Direct

 hollywoodreporter.com  5/19/2017 6:01:11 PM 

Sony has ensnared a star and director for its Spider-Man offshoot, Venom.

Tom Hardy, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work in The Revenant, is in final negotiations to star in Venom, while Ruben Fleischer, best known for directing Zombieland, is final negotiations to helm the movie project centering on one of Spider-Man’s signature villains.

The project is one of Sony’s top priorities and the studio is not wasting time as the movie is set to open Oct. 5, 2018.

Venom is to usher in a host of movies from Sony's Marvel and Spider-Man-based universe of characters. Sony is rebooting its Marvel-based slate with this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and Venom is a key title in its slate. The studio is also developing a Silver Sable/Black Cat project among other characters from the Spider-Man stable.

Venom has been one of Marvel’s top villains and a Spider-Man fixture since he was introduced in 1988, created by writer David Michelinie and artists Todd McFarlane and Mike Zeck. The character is an alien symbiote that needs a human host to survive. In return, the alien vests its victim with incredible powers. He made his first big-screen appearance in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 and was portrayed by Topher Grace.

Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, the latter of whom worked on 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, wrote the script for Venom. Plot details are being kept in the black but Hardy, who is said to be a Venom fan, will play Eddie Brock, the character who first became Venom.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing, along with Amy Pascal.

Fleischer made a name for himself balancing comedy with action and horror elements and recently helmed episodes of the Drew Barrymore cannibal show Santa Clarita Diet and NBC’s Superstore. He is also a producer on Brie Larson’s directorial debut, Unicorn Store.

The brooding Hardy has racked up acclaim for productions such as Locke and Legend and also starred in Mad Max: Fury Road. The actor has eschewed, for the most part, popcorn movies but did star as Batman villain Bane in 2012’s Dark Knight Rises.

With Venom, the actor now switches from the DC side of comic book movie dimension to the Marvel zone.

Hardy is repped by CAA, Sloane Offer and UK’s United Agents. Fleischer is repped by CAA, Management 360, and Sloane Offer.

After the news broke, Sony shared a photo of Hardy getting in the Venom spirit:

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