A few months after nabbing Tom Hardy (Dunkirk) to star in his upcoming Venom movie, director Ruben Fleischer has reportedly pulled off another casting coup, adding rising British star Riz Ahmed (The Night Of), according to ScreenRant.
No official word has come from Sony Pictures regarding Ahmed’s role — Variety reports that he would be playing a “popular Marvel Comics character” — but rumors indicate that the 34-year-old actor-slash-rapper will play Cletus Kasady, known better as Carnage.
Technically, like Venom, Carnage is a symbiote — a sentient, gooey alien thing that bonds with a host, imparting its power and often subsuming the person entirely. While down-on-his-luck journalist Eddie Brock (Hardy) becomes a sort of antihero after bonding with Venom, Kasady is a psychopathic serial killer before absorbing the Carnage symbiote within his prison cell, which transforms him into a full-on supervillain.
The past few years have seen Ahmed’s acting star shine brighter than ever, with big roles and matching performances in hits like 2014’s Nightcrawler and 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We will also see him soon in Una alongside Rooney Mara, as well as The Sisters Brothers (next to Jake Gyllenhaal, with whom he co-starred in Nightcrawler).
With both Ahmed and Hardy in play, Venom could turn out to have more depth than most comic book movies. Several other actors, including Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s Hamilton) and Cameron Monaghan (Gotham), reportedly expressed interest in playing Carnage.
Due to an odd deal struck between Sony and Marvel, Venom will not be considered part of the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — despite the fact that Spider-Man (currently played by Tom Holland, who starred in Spider-Man: Homecoming and will appear in Avengers: Infinity War) is. For now, the movie will stand alone as an origin story, though the studios have not ruled out a future agreement that could bring Venom and Carnage into the MCU. The same can be said for the upcoming Silver & Black, centered around Marvel characters Sable and Black Cat.
Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner are writing the script for Venom, which will be executive produced by Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal. The movie is set for release on October 5, 2018.
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