INTERVIEW: Director Ruben Fleischer Talks 'Ultimate' Inspiration for Venom

Venom is oozing his way into theaters everywhere this week as the first entry into Sony's solo "Spider-Verse," a branch of movies starring Spider-Man characters that are unrelated to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. This has represented some challenges, given the symbiote's close relationship to Spidey who himself has become something of an MCU darling in the last few years following his on-screen reintroduction in Captain America: Civil War.

Challenges aside, director Ruben Fleischer was more than up to the task, and ready to open up about the hurdles that needed to be jumped to make a solo Venom story work on screen. CBR sat down with him during the Venom press event in Beverly Hills, and we dug right into how he crafted a Spider-Man story... without Spider-Man.

CBR: So we have to address the web-slinging elephant in the room right away, right? Can we talk about what it was like developing Venom outside of a universe where Spider-Man was on the table?

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Ruben Fleischer: Yeah, I mean it was a little bit decided before my involvement, from when I first received the script. It was this original origin story and I had -- not exactly the shape of the finished film, but it was designed that the aliens came directly from outer space and that they came to our world. We skipped our friend Spidey and it just went directly to Eddie and, you know, for a minute, I was really nervous about that decision.

But then I decided to approach the film almost like an Ultimate version of Venom -- so that allowed me the freedom to just be original and inventive. We tried in every other aspect with the exception of Spider-Man to be as true to the comics as we possibly could, whether it was like with the incorporation Carlton Drake and the Life Foundation or you know, Eddie's character referring to his past in New York.

What about building Eddie and Venom's relationship with this new context between them? How did that work?

The buddy aspect was inherent to the movie from the beginning. It's from the original script that was like the heart of the movie. It was the relationship that I got excited about because most superheroes or supervillains, depending on who you're talking about, are an individual. They might be an individual that gets imbued with superpowers. They might be an individual that came from a different planet and has a superhero powers here. They might be an individual who received an inheritance from his parents death and then spends his life becoming a vigilante. It's just about one person. And what's unique and really awesome about Eddie and Venom is that it's like one plus one equals three.

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Unlike Jekyll and Hyde, or unlike a Werewolf, to which you can draw a lot of parallels -- when Jekyll's in control, Hyde's not. Or if it's the werewolf, like the man becomes the werewolf. And then when he's just the werewolf, there's no back and forth. And so from the comics, they're always talking to each other, whether it be when Eddie has Venom in his ear, when he was just Venom you can hear Eddie. When Venom talks, he always used the "we" referring to the fact that it's the union of these two people.

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