Sony is wasting no time in fast-tracking Venom, with filming scheduled for later this year and an October 2018 release date. Now that we know a Venom solo won't tie into the MCU and Spider-Man: Homecoming, the film will likely veer towards the more macabre side of the web slinger’s rogues gallery.
While the internet is already awash with who could play doomed journalist Eddie Brock, the Venomverse also opens up an even darker side of Spider-Man. Fans of Marvel will know that Venom isn’t the only symbiote specimen in the comic books; there is also the Carnage symbiote, Venom’s even more more brutal offspring.
Brock’s cellmate is long-term maniac Cletus Kasady, a serial killer with a penchant for madness. Imagine the perfect finale (and sequel set-up) for Venom: the bars of a cell opening up to reveal Kasady’s signature grin waiting for us. So forget Eddie Brock, and wave farewell to Peter Parker, here are the 15 Actors Who Could Play Carnage In Venom.
15 Jim Carrey
To get the list off to a controversial start, the name Jim Carrey has been circling Kasady for as long as there has been fan casting. The rumor picked up steam when a Twitter user posted an image close to the location for the Ravencroft Institute when filming Amazing Spider-Man 2, and since then, it has been hard to shake the image of Carrey as Carnage out of anyone’s head.
Carrey’s casting as Carnage could be a master stroke. Bubbling underneath his comedic performances, there has always been an edge of madness. Look at him in I Love You Phillip Morris, a part where he played a calculating lunatic, or as the psychotic serial killer in Number 23.
Sure, he was once a lackluster Riddler, but the ghosts of supes past shouldn’t haunt Jim. Keaton is approaching a return to superheroes after Batman for Spider-Man: Homecoming, so why should one little foray into the world of capes and catastrophe put you off? If you let Carrey sink in long enough, you know it makes sense.
14 Michael K. Williams
For all five seasons of HBO’s prohibition thriller Boardwalk Empire, Michael K. Williams was nothing less than chilling as Albert “Chalky” White. The leader of the black contingent of Atlantic City, Chalky was a sinister leader, who was more than meets the eye. Williams brought a slightly lovable side to the unlovable man, a perfect quality for portraying the damaged Kasady.
However, Michael’s best-known role is as Baltimore's Robin Hood, Omar Little, on The Wire - a part he got after only one audition. The part of Omar went on to become a fan-favorite of the show and was frequently cited as one of the best elements of the show. In particular, the dry wit of Williams' portrayal is something that could easily transfer over to Carnage. Whether it is seen a positive or a negative, Williams is a serious method actor, and actually became lost in the part of Little while filming The Wire - he referred to himself as Omar and started taking drugs.
He might be on the older side of casting, but every part that the 50-year-old plays usually involves intimidation and scene-stealing. You could easily imagine Williams as a scarred and deranged Kasady, lurking in the darkness of a cell, waiting for Brock.
13 Pedro Pascal
The Chilean-born Pedro Pascal is destined for Hollywood greatness and we have already tipped him for MCU villainy. Despite his low profile, 41-year-old Pascal has actually been acting since 1999, where one of his first roles was a guest-stint in a singular episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s fourth season.
Since then, Pascal has shown up on television shows like Law & Order and Homeland, and played the gold-cloaked Oberyn Martell in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Fans of the books knew that his part wasn’t exactly going to last, and in one of the show’s most graphic scenes, Pascal’s Martell had his skull crushed by former World’s Strongest Man Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson.
He was once set to appear in the unproduced Wonder Woman pilot in 2011 and recently starred as Javier Peña on Netflix’s Narcos. With relatively few Hollywood appearances, Pascal recently starred in the The Great Wall and is set to play “Jack Daniels” in the upcoming Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Complete will all the sex appeal and charm you could ask for, Pascal's charisma could be the perfect host for the alien symbiote to latch on to.
12 Alexander Skarsgård
His brother Bill is currently scaring all those with coulrophobia over in the remake of Stephen King’s IT, so hopefully creepy serial killer performances run in the family. Elsewhere, Alexander’s father Stellan Skarsgård is no stranger to Marvel movie properties. For seven seasons of True Blood, Alexander won us over as the Viking vampire sheriff Eric Northman and appeared in 74 of the 80 episodes. Skarsgård won a slew of awards for the role, but his career could’ve been very different, mainly due to the fact that in 1989 he quit acting for seven years.
You may remember that he had a very brief role as Meekus in Ben Stiller’s Zoolander and returned for a different role in the sequel, as well as playing the lead in the strange Hasbro adaptation Battleship. He lead us on a rumble in the jungle as Tarzan in the lackluster 2016 film The Legend of Tarzan, so how about a swap over to the side of villainy?
We at least know he is willing to work hard for his talent, reportedly eating 7,000 calories a day to build up 25lbs for the role as the King of the Swingers. If you want a Kasady that can act but also has the looks, then search no further than the good Swedish genes of Skarsgård.
11 Matthew Lillard
Scooby-Who? Matthew Lillard may be known as the goofball who played Shaggy in the live-action Scooby-Doo films, but others remember him for a very different part. As one-half of the “two killers” twist in Wes Craven’s Scream, Matthew Lillard flashed his psycho credentials as joker Stu Macher. While a brilliant casting choice, it was actually a part that he accidently got by attending the audition alongside his then girlfriend.
Lillard's skill is that no one would expect him to plan the bad guy - no one suspected Stu would be one of the film’s killers in Scream, after all. Sadly we never got the original plan for Scream 3, which would've featured Stu having survived his first film death for a shock return in the third part. Similar to Carrey, Lillard’s improv skills make him a superb candidate to bring across the madness of Kasady. His infamous line when Skeet Ulrich hit him on the head with a phone in Scream was a spur of the moment idea.
These days Lillard STILL lends his voice to Shaggy Rogers in animated form, however, his real-life roles remain relatively limited. There have been sporadic episodes of Criminal Minds and The Good Wife, as well as another wacky part in the maligned Thirteen Ghosts. Excitingly he has an (unknown) part in the highly-anticipated Twin Peaks revival, but for the carnage of Carnage, just imagine an older version of Stu from Scream.
10 Steven Ogg
Canadian Steven Ogg is the man with the vocal talents to take on Trevor Philips, the villainous lead protagonist of Grand Theft Auto V. The 43-year-old actor may be known more for his voice than his face, but all that has to change. With his yard-brush mustache and imposing glare, he has the mad eyes of the perfect Kasady.
Through voice and motion capture, his part as Trevor went on to become one of the great video game villains, nearly up there with the likes of Bowser and Ganondorf. Ogg was nominated for several awards for his portrayal and won the New York Videogame Critics Circle Award for Best Overall Acting in a Game. Despite being on the scene since 2000, Ogg has recently stepped more into the limelight of live-action, including bit parts in Better Call Saul and a larger part in robotic-romp Westworld.
However, he is currently terrifying over in the zombie apocalypse on The Walking Dead. After premiering in the Season 6 finale, his role as the sinister Simon in Season 7 makes for an uncomfortable but uncompromising part. Ogg may not have been wielding his Grand Theft Auto baseball bat this time around, but he arguably plays a better villain than Jeffrey Dean Morgan's big bad Negan.
9 Ben Foster
In terms of redeeming performances, blonde-haired Ben Foster is an amazing actor, while Hollywood still feels like he needs to make up for X-Men: The Last Stand. Although he has had some stellar performances, Foster is still dogged by a lackluster appearance as Warren Worthington in Brett Ratner’s car crash.
Away from flying with the X-Men, Foster was superb as Russell Corwin in Six Feet Under, playing Lauren Ambrose’s sexually-ambiguous art classmate/one-time boyfriend. He gave us more of a Carnage-esque performance as the cold-blooded killer Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma, and again he showed us just how dangerous he could be when playing lethal ex-con Tanner Howard in Hell or High Water.
However, to really see what Foster could bring to the part of Carnage, you need to check him out in Benedict Andrews' new production of A Streetcar Named Desire in London. Alongside Gillian Anderson, Foster brought the house down as Stanley, a performance that The New York Times called nothing short of amazing:
“[Ben Foster is] the first Stanley I have come across to erase memories of the part’s stage and screen originator, Marlon Brando.”
If you can balance the complicated Stanley Kowalski, then you are more than a match to play Carnage.
8 Michael Rooker
With a backwater Alabama twang and imposing stature, Michael Rooker would deliver a carnivorous Carnage if ever we’ve seen one. There is something about villain roles that gravitate towards the 61-year-old, but that doesn’t mean he can’t sometimes play the good guy too. Michael may be the eldest member of the list, but since when was age a big deal? With his instantly recognizable voice, he has also loaned himself to several video games, most notably the Call of Duty series.
Rooker started out his long career when portraying serial killer Henry Lee Lucas in 1986’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. With a part in the all-star Tombstone, and as the brother-in-arms to Sly in Cliffhanger, Rooker made the move into action films. Nowadays, he makes up part of the Guardians of the Galaxy as the blue-skinned Yondu - a part set to increase in the upcoming sequel.
Alongside Steven Ogg, Rooker also joined the acclaimed The Walking Dead alumni as powerhouse Merle Dixon, one of the most ambiguous grey areas of the show. The character that had a redemption of sorts, but not before causing trouble for nearly every one of the main cast. Merle was somehow likable underneath his blatant racism and backward way of thinking. It always felt like Rooker should've been on the show longer than just 14 episodes, while his brotherly love with Daryl was a highlight of the show’s early years.
7 Jesse Plemons
We have said it before, and we will say it again - Jesse Plemons should be Carnage!
Starting acting aged just 3 ½ in a Coca-Cola commercial, Jesse Plemons’ big break was providing the comic relief in the first season of Friday Night Lights as Landry Clarke. It was a part that Plemons would grow into, becoming a regular fixture and then guest star until its end. Some may know him for his TV work, but others remember Plemons as Kevin Weeks alongside Johnny Depp in the biographical crime film Black Mass.
Plemons teamed up with FNL creator Peter Berg (as well as Alexander Skarsgård ) for Battleship. It was reported that Plemons was one of four actors considered for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a part which eventually went to John Boyega. While he dodged the world of George Lucas, his television career has gone from strength to strength, most recently when he appeared in the second season of FX’s anthology show Fargo, keeping the weight he gained for Black Mass.
His resemblance to Matt Damon hasn’t gone unnoticed, with fandom nicknaming Plemons “Meth Damon” thanks to his part in Breaking Bad. It is for Vince Gilligan’s show that Plemons gave his most Carnage-worthy performance, portraying Todd Alquist in the final season. Promoted to a series regular for Season 5B, Alquist was truly unhinged and had no problem gunning down an innocent child. In a show so packed with morally corrupt characters, Plemons performance stuck out in an unnerving way.
6 Jackie Earle Haley
If a life behind bars is made for any method actor, it is Jackie Earle Haley. The bald but brilliant actor showed us just how to play a superhero film right as Rorschach in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. Starting out in the likes of the Bad News Bears films, Haley took a backseat as a producer for many years, then returned to life in front of the camera for All The King’s Men in 2006 - since then, he has been an unstoppable force of acting.
His role as pedophile Ronald James McGorvey in Little Children earned his an Oscar nomination, but he sadly didn’t scoop the statue. If playing a disturbed child molester wasn’t enough, he went to revisit that idea as dream stalker Freddy Krueger in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Haley had attended an audition with his friend Johnny Depp for the original, but as we all know, it was Depp who got a part.
The 2010 iteration was critically slammed, while Haley escaped relatively unscathed. There was nothing wrong with Haley’s performance as Krueger, it’s just that a poor script and grimy reboot made it impossible to top Robert Englund. Another time behind bars, Haley played the deranged George Noyce in Scorsese's Shutter Island, and it is this kind of madman role that Haley excels at, making him a stellar Carnage choice.
5 Michael Mando
Keeping it in the Breaking Bad family, could Nacho suit up as the symbiote? It has already been rumored that Mando’s unspecified part in Spider-Man: Homecoming could lead to him playing Carnage, an idea that doesn’t sound half bad. The Better Call Saul Twitter account tweeted the message, "Michael Mando is spectacular at bringing carnage to life in Better Call Saul,” causing fandom to go into meltdown.
Known for his parts in the likes of sci-fi thriller Orphan Black and Canada's Les Bleus de Ramville, Mando is an expert at playing a bad guy. His characterization was on point as drug dealer Vic on Orphan Black, however, he is currently ruling the roost on Netflix’s Breaking Bad spin-off. As Ignacio "Nacho" Varga, Mando manages to shine in Gilligan’s world of colorful villains.
Elsewhere, his villainous voice made him the twisted antagonist Vaas Montenegro in 2012’s Far Cry 3, a part he reprised for the webseries The Far Cry Experience. It is the role of the mohawked maniac Montenegro that shows just how versatile Mando is, and how playing Carnage would be a walk in the park
4 William Fichtner
Usually relegated to a side character, William Fichtner is one of the greatest character actors out there. While he may be known as “oh, it’s him, from that,” Fichtner could usher in another wave of older Cletus Kasady and could make everyone remember Fichtner’s name, not just his face.
As a stalwart of television, Fichtner played Sheriff Tom Underlay in short-lived cult show Invasion, however, it was as the intense Alexander Mahone on Prison Break which gave his best performance. The FBI Agent who was sent after Schofield and Burrows, Mahone was clearly a disturbed individual who struggled to balance his family life while covering up a murder he had committed.
It always seems to be a case of nearly, but not quite for Bill in starring roles. It was thought that Fichtner would’ve played a much larger part in proceedings for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. You may remember that he portrayed the bank manager in the film’s dramatic opening, leading many to believe that he cold even portray the Riddler in later installments.
He was also due to play Shredder in the Paramount remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but after an outcry of whitewashing, his part of Eric Sacks was reduced to the role of Shredder’s student. As Mahone is one of the only characters not to return for Prison Break’s anticipated revival, Fichtner certainly has some free time on his hands.
3 Michael C. Hall
Starting in the school choir, before moving into high school musicals, the career of Michael C. Hall started off-Broadway in Macbeth and soon progressed to our screens. Many will recognize him as the closeted David Fisher from the superb Six Feet Under, a role that he portrayed throughout the run and was nominated for an Emmy. There was always something sinister about the mortician, and Hall took to the role with a morbid glee.
As for feature films, he played the maleficent company owner Ken Castle in 2009’s Gamer and has already dipped his toe in the superhero waters. Hall gave his voice to both Dr. Kirk Langstrom and Batman in the DCAU’s Justice League: Gods and Monsters in 2015.
However, most know Hall as the blood splatter analyst-cum-serial killer Dexter Morgan. For eight seasons, Dexter kept us on the edge of our seats with Hall's calm demeanor hidden under a smirk. Sure, the ending is one of the most maligned in TV history, but wrapping his victims in plastic for seven years, Michael was a superb lead, rightly earning his Golden Globe and SAG Award.
Since Dexter wrapped in 2013, there have been persistent rumors of Hall returning for a spin-off show, but give him Carnage instead. Hall has the perfect acting skills to play a cold and calculating psychopath, bringing a more refined edge to Kasady.
2 Will Poulter
About as controversial as casting comes, can anyone imagine the baby-faced Will Poulter as Carnage? While it may seem an out there edition, all you need to remember is that Poulter was once attached to play Pennywise in the remake of Stephen King’s IT and all the pieces fall in place. A literal jack of all trades, Poulter has done comedy with We’re The Millers, action with the Maze Runner series, and a more serious tone with The Revenant - with Leonardo DiCaprio, Poulter excelled as mountain man Jim Bridger.
After appearing in Son of Rambow and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it was We’re The Millers that earned Poulter breakout star status, along with a slew of awards. Although he is yet to add horror to his C.V., playing psychotic Cletus Kasady could be a great place to start.
At the age of just 24, Poulter could give even the most established actors a run for their money. As one of Hollywood’s rising stars, his upcoming projects include Netflix epic War Machine - alongside brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, and ironically the previous Venom, Topher Grace. He will also return for a third Maze Runner film and Kathryn Bigelow’s Untitled Detroit Project. If you are going for a young version of Carnage, Poulter HAS to be up for consideration.
1 Robert Knepper
When you imagine a grandma-pushing murderer, there is just one man who comes to mind - Robert Knepper. The 57-year-old has villainy down to a tee, thanks mainly to a long career of playing the dregs of society, and in particular, his portrayal of Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell on Fox’s Prison Break.
You would be amazed how a man with only one hand could cause so much trouble for the brotherly band of outlaws, but T-Bag's reign involved murder and pedophilia in some of the show's most shocking scenes. Thankfully, Knepper will return to the role of Bagwell in the show’s revival, and the fandom cannot wait to see if the crook has returned to his old ways (he probably has).
He also reprised Bagwell for unofficial spin-off show Breakout Kings, and joined the final season of Heroes as another bad guy, this time as mysterious carnival owner Samuel Sullivan. He played serial killer Rhett Walkden in Criminal Minds and took his darkness to portray Clock King in both Arrow and The Flash.
With his perfected snarl and piercing eyes, Knepper can run your blood cold with just a stare. He's a perfect playmate for both the Venom and Carnage symbiotes. T-Bag is heralded as one of the best villains of all time, so Knepper is ideal to play one of the most evil comic book characters in history.
Who would you like to see as Carnage? Sound off in the comments below!