Venom 2: Andy Serkis Among the Directors in the Running

Andy Serkis and Venom

Action-filmmaker Andy Serkis is reportedly in the running to direct Venom 2. The first Venom movie hit theaters in October 2018 and overcame mixed to negative reviews to gross $856 million worldwide on a $100 million budget, in turn ensuring that Sony would move ahead with its already-planned sequel. Venom co-writer Kelly Marcel has since set to work on writing the next entry, with Tom Hardy already lined up to reprise his role as Eddie Brock from the previous movie.

Michelle Williams is also expected to reprise her role as Eddie's ex-girlfriend, Anne Weying, in the upcoming Venom sequel. And of course, the first movie's mid-credits scene further set the stage for serial killer Cletus Kasady - played by Woody Harrelson and his marvelous curly-haired wig - to evolve into the big bad Carnage at some point in Venom 2. However, it would appear that director Ruben Fleischer won't be joining the returning cast members for another round of comic book-inspired madness.

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Instead, THR is reporting that Sony is meeting with filmmakers to take Fleischer's spot on Venom 2 (which the studio is hoping to get into production by November). Serkis is among the people who've met about the job so far, though THR cautions that the situation is very much fluid. They also say that Serkis, if he signs on, isn't expected to play a role in the movie, in addition to serving as director. Meanwhile, in a separate report, Variety says that Travis Knight (Bumblebee) and Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) have also met about the job.

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While Serkis is still best known for his motion-capture performances in film series like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes (in addition to the occasional non-mo-cap role, like his MCU character, Ulysses Klaue), he's increasingly begun to focus on directing of late. After serving as a second unit director on The Hobbit trilogy and helming the true story-inspired drama Breathe in 2017, Serkis combined his two passions - motion-capture and filmmaking - in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, a live-action/CGI adaptation of The Jungle Book that started out at Warner Bros., but ultimately released on Netflix. And while the film earned mixed reviews overall, critics praised it for its sophisticated visual effects and surprisingly dark and violent tone.

That's to say, based on his previous work as director, Serkis is a strong match for the effects-heavy, horror-flavored superhero property that is Venom, especially with Venom 2 adding Carnage to the mix. As for why Fleischer isn't coming back: Variety, via their writeup, says that he'll be finishing Zombieland: Double Tap for its October debut around the same time that pre-production on Venom 2 is scheduled to get fully underway. Sony is currently holding onto an October 2020 release date for a Marvel-related project that is almost certainly the Venom sequel, so that further explains why they're looking for someone to replace Fleischer and keep the film chugging along (instead of waiting for him to become free again).

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Source: THR, Variety

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