Tom Hardy to Star in Sony's Venom Film

Barely two months after Sony Pictures staked out a release date for its long-discussed Venom movie, the studio has settled on both a director and a star for the Spider-Man spinoff.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar nominee Tom Hardy is in final negotiations for the title role, while Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer is nearing a deal to step behind the camera. Production is set to begin this fall; the film is targeted for release on Oct. 5, 2018.

Tom Hardy is Eddie Brock in #Venom, the upcoming film from Sony’s Marvel Universe releasing October 5, 2018 – production starts this fall. pic.twitter.com/OZQqDEvoum

— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) May 19, 2017

The news arrives ahead of the July release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, a co-production with Marvel Studios that reboots the Sony franchise, with Tom Holland reprising his role as Peter Parker from Captain America: Civil War. Venom isn't connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's the first film in a long-planned expansion of the Spider-Man franchise, which Sony hopes will include a Silver Sable/Black Cat spinoff.

Sony first announced Venom in December 2013, alongside The Sinister Six, envisioned as the first pieces of a cinematic universe that would follow The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But with the release of that sequel, which earned mixed reviews and $709 million worldwide, the studio drastically changed its plans, resulting in the deal with Marvel to co-produce the reboot.

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Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner wrote the script for Venom, which will star Hardy as Eddie Brock, the disgraced journalist who becomes host to the alien Symbiote after it's rejected by Peter Parker.

No stranger to superhero movies, Hardy played the villainous Bane in Christopher Nolan's 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises. He's also known for roles in such films as Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception and The Revenant. Fleischer made his feature directorial debut with the 2009 horror-comedy Zombieland, which he followed with 30 Minutes Or Less and Gangster Squad.

Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal will produce.

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