Andy Serkis got a big boost in his bid to direct Venom 2 this week, with Tom Hardy seemingly backing the director of Netflix’s Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, lending Serkis support through his Instagram account - before swiftly deleting it.
Serkis is said to be in the running to direct the Marvel sequel for Sony Pictures. Variery reported that the Spider-Man spin-off is circling Serkis, Bumblebee’s Travis Knight and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Rupert Wyatt for the gig.
That deletion of Hardy’s Instagram post probably came because talks are still ongoing, but it’s still a sign Hardy’s backing the British actor/director for the job.
With the original movie seeming to set up a clash between Venom and Carnage, thanks to a last-minute cameo by Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, we’re assuming the second film is going to be extremely CGI-heavy (after all, the less we see of Harrelson’s ridiculous ginger wig in the film, the better).
Serkis, obviously, is the master of CGI-performance, but his directorial career has been mixed so far. His debut, Breathe, secured great reviews, but only made a third of its original budget back in cinemas.
His next directorial credit is a 30-minute performance poem by Akala, made for the BBC. Finally, there’s Mowgli - made for Warner Brothers with a wide theatrical release in mind, which was then dumped onto Netflix.
So, it’s pretty safe to say that Serkis needs Venom 2 as much as it needs him. Despite negative reviews, the original was a box office hit - if Serkis can improve the reviews while maintaining the financial success of the first film, it could be a stepping stone to the directorial career he so clearly craves.
And he could bring deeper themes to the franchise.
“It’s funny that it has befallen tent-pole movies to be the messengers of intelligent discourse,” Serkis said. “It’s not the smaller prestige movies saying something intensely about an issue but these grand pieces of entertainment, which are really connecting with people.”
While we’re not expecting Venom 2 to be the next Black Panther, a film Serkis was so good in, it would be nice to mix some real-world themes into the story of two computer generated alien symbiotes hitting each other.
Oh, and not only did Serkis work with Woody Harrelson on another blockbuster with big themes - War Of The Planet Of The Apes - he has a connection to the first Venom movie, using Tom Hardy as an example of why awards bodies need to start celebrating performance capture roles.
Just give him the job already!
Venom 2 is currently scheduled for release in the UK on October 2, 2020.