The British actor has carved a career out of playing offbeat, larger than life figures, from maniacal prisoner Charles Bronson in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson to both Kray Twins in Brian Helgeland’s Legend. If you’re looking to cast an actor who can hold the camera’s gaze for two hours while delivering unwavering commitment to the part (with potential for the odd amusing segue into impenetrable broguery along the way), Hardy is the man for the job. Unfortunately, fans were more interested in finding out what the new big screen version of Venom looks like than charting the next stage in Hardy’s career-long mission to channel the most eccentric human beings on the planet. And, on that count, they were left profoundly disappointed.
You can hardly blame Sony here, for there is little point in casting an actor as fiendishly determined to deliver the goods as Hardy if you aren’t prepared to let them do their thing. And yet the absence of much actual Venom – the alien symbiote that we know will eventually bond with Hardy’s Eddie Brock – has left fans wondering what the studio is so frightened of.
A similar hullaballoo erupted recently with the debut of Solo’s Han Solo-less teaser trailer, which immediately led Star Wars acolytes to ponder why Disney hadn’t offered up a proper look at Alden Ehrenreich’s take on the wily space scoundrel. Fast forward a week and the release of the first trailer proper inevitably led those same fans to wish they were able to put Aldenreich-Solo back in his box, largely for being absolutely nothing like the beloved Harrison Ford take.
Sony, of course, is facing a very different problem, in that its previous big screen incarnation of Venom was not beloved at all. In fact, the symbiote’s hamfisted inclusion in 2007’s Spider-Man 3 symbolised almost everything that was wrong with that film.