Andy Serkis is officially directing Venom 2. Last year, the first Venom movie proved to be a massive box office hit despite earning mostly negative reviews from critics. With Tom Hardy in the starring role as Eddie Brock, Venom earned a whopping $856 million worldwide against a production budget of only $100 million, ensuring that followups would be made. Sony was extremely confident in what they had even before Venom premiered, as they included a post-credits stinger featuring blatant sequel setup with Woody Harrelson's Cletus Kasady.
Despite the overwhelming success of Venom, the sequel was poised to change up the creative team. Director Ruben Fleischer is not returning, as evidenced by reports in late July that Sony was searching for his replacement. One of those names, interestingly enough, was Andy Serkis. Hardy even went as far as to tease Serkis' hiring on social media, and now it's official. Serkis is directing Venom 2.
The news comes courtesy of THR, who say Serkis met with Sony on July 22 to discuss the film. Venom 2 will be the third directorial outing of Serkis' career, following Breathe and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. Serkis confirmed the news on his official Twitter account:
Serkis, of course, his renowned for his various motion-capture performance roles in massive blockbusters like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, and the first two installments of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. While he continues to add to his acting résumé (including an in-the-flesh appearance in Black Panther), Serkis is also expanding his horizons by trying his hand at directing. While neither of his previous directorial offerings became critical darlings, Serkis demonstrated a lot of promise behind the camera, whether it be getting fine performances out of his actors or handling big-scale visual effects. Hopefully he'll be able to hit a home run with Venom 2, which reads as a natural evolution of his developing career as a helmsman. Someone with Serkis' penchant for special effects will likely be a strong fit for Venom 2. It should be fun to see what he can do with the Eddie/Venom dynamic and how he stages scenes of Eddie "Golluming."
Venom was the massive hit Sony desperately needed, breaking box office records during its run and launching a full franchise for other films based on various Spider-Man villains. The sequel is clearly a priority for the studio, eager to strike while the iron is burning hot and fan interest is high. From the sound of it, Sony isn't keen to simply rests on their laurels because they know there's a built-in audience. Serkis is an inspired choice for director, and he clearly impressed executives with his vision for Venom 2. It'll be fascinating to see what he brings to the table and if he can improve the series' critical standing.