With a healthy dose of the buddy-cop formula and a dash of antiheroism, Venom drew in global audiences to the tune of more than $850 million. The film opened with the odd combination of unfavorable reviews and record-breaking box office revenues. Even though it turned out to be Sony Pictures' biggest hit this year, Venom was still a miss for many critics.
While reviewers were underwhelmed by the movie's CGI and confused tone, audiences were thrilled to find one of their favorite villains/antiheroes in theaters. Venom was first introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man comics in the late '80s as the Wall-Crawler's dark counterpart, but he eventually evolved into a more morally ambiguous character. Despite his ethical flailing, Venom's origin story and trajectory was intimately intertwined with Peter Parker. The studio's decision to produce a Venom feature film without any overt connection to Spider-Man was a daring, albeit controversial, move.
Viewers will have to decide for themselves whether or not Venom manages to stand on its own. Jam-packed with dark humor, thrilling chases, and anchored by a big, lovable performance by Tom Hardy as both Eddie Brock and Venom, the movie certainly does not fail to entertain. As with most comic book productions, Sony pulled out all the stops and invested in impressive stunts and on-location shooting. These behind-the-scenes photos reveal what went into the making of Venom, letting you learn more about how it came to be and making it possible to enjoy the film in a new light.
Here are 20 Behind-The-Scenes Photos From Venom That Change Everything.
20 Day One
Venom's premiere was preceded by an extensive marketing campaign and a strong social media presence. The movie's official Twitter account started to create buzz early by posting a blurry photo from the first day of shooting.
Not much can be deduced from the picture, but it certainly got fans talking. Leading man Tom Hardy looks especially delighted to be on set, which is perhaps not so strange considering that he was obsessed with his character in the months leading up to filming. Most of Hardy's earlier work is much starker fare, so he was probably eager to bite into a more comedic role. He later revealed that he accepted the part because he wanted to work on a film that his son could watch.
19 All eyes on Eddie
During production, Hardy's Instagram feed treated followers to several behind-the-scenes snapshots. One of the pictures he put up showed him in a cage-like structure surrounded by cameras. An eagle-eyed follower noticed that technicians used Raspberry Pi’s to synchronize and control the equipment.
Raspberry Pi is an ethically driven tech company that produces low-cost computers. The devices can be purchased online for a moderate price and enable users to learn about computing. This technology allows aspiring filmmakers to try out some of the techniques used to make Venom, even if they do not have a $100 million budget.
18 An Eager Fan Made A Visit
Michelle Williams got to hang out with more than one pup while filming Venom. This adorable photo shows the two leads cuddling up with a four-legged visitor on set. Both Williams and Hardy have a soft spot for animals and have often spoken about the role they play in their lives.
Williams has admitted that her daughter fills their home with finned and furry creatures, while Hardy has often used his fame to advocate for rescued animals. The star had a profound connection with a homeless dog he met and adopted while filming Lawless and has since then been involved in a PETA campaign promoting animal adoption.
17 Old-School Stunts Meet CGI
A surprising amount of Venom's motorcycle chase was actually created with practical effects. The memorable shot of Eddie flying off his bike, for example, was made by using a combination of visual and practical effects. The motorcycle jump was filmed on location in San Francisco with the help of a ramp and a stunt driver, and close-ups of Eddie's flight was captured in studio using green screens and wires.
Filming on location was not without its challenges; all of the scenes were shot at night and the pavement was sometimes slippery from the rain. Capable stunt drivers like Robbie Madison and Jimmy Roberts, as seen in this photo by Stunts Unlimited, made sure everything came together safely and smoothly.
16 Focus on the rooftop
Venom did not only have a powerful ensemble in front of the cameras; many of the people who worked on the film are esteemed professionals in their respective fields. Composer Ludwig Göransson, director of photography Matthew Libatique, and editors Alan Baumgarten and Maryann Brandon are only a few of the celebrated creatives who worked on the movie.
In this photo posted by Tom Hardy, Libatique is taking a picture of the lead with his phone. The DOP is best known for his work on Darren Aronofsky's movies, but he has previous experience from the superhero genre through his work on Iron Man.
15 Hardy's Physical Transformation
Tom Hardy often takes on physically challenging roles, so an iconic comic book character was right up his alley. To prepare for the role, Hardy reportedly worked out twice a day, five times a week. To make sure that he was not only in top form but also ready to learn fight choreography, his exercise regimen included boxing, kick-boxing, and jiu-jitsu. In this photo, Hardy demonstrates how he has put his training to good use.
Starring in Venom did not only require physical preparation; Hardy also sought out sources of inspiration that he could use to build his character. In an interview with Esquire, he says he drew his inspiration for Venom from Conor McGregor and the rapper Redman.
14 Crew Members Dressed For The Occasion
Hardy made headlines when he showed up to the filming of Stars In Cars wearing a Venom hoodie. One of his old Instagram posts reveal that he idea behind this innocent publicity stunt may have come months earlier. While Hardy was still filming the movie, he posted a photo of an enthusiastic crew member wearing a Venom sweater.
It seems by all accounts like the cast and crew had a great time making Venom, and this photo shows how widespread the love for the Marvel villain was among the crew's ranks. Hardy has also been caught wearing Venom-attire while doing press for the movie, so this is probably not the last time we will see him pull out his Venom hoodies.
13 The Lobster tank scene
Eddie Brock stepping into the lobster tank of an upscale San Francisco bistro has become one of Venom's most iconic scenes. Fans of the movie may be surprised to discover that the act was improvised by Tom Hardy and not part of the original script.
Fleischer revealed to Collider that the idea came to Hardy when they were rehearsing the scene the day before shooting. They only had a day to prepare the necessary changes, so the crew had to scramble to get everything in place overnight. Production designers had to rush to figure out how to reinforce the tank and the crew had to get their hands on fake lobsters to fill the tank.
12 Venom Concept Art
When the official trailer for Venom was released, fans started to worry. The brief video featured a whole lot of Tom Hardy, but next to nothing of the Marvel anti-hero. Suspicions went into overdrive when a blog claimed that Venom only showed up towards the end of the film.
Now that the movie is out, fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Venom, in his original form, was the very first character introduced in the picture and it would not take long until he merged with Eddie Brock. This black and white concept art by Mikkel Frandsen reveals that the filmmakers had a clear idea about where they were going with Venom from the start.
11 Switching Between Two Characters
In this photo, Hardy is seeing a reflection of himself as Venom for the first time. For the making of Venom, the actor actually had to step into the shoes of two separate characters. Hardy didn't just play Eddie Brock-- he also voiced and performed the alien symbiot who merged with Brock's body.
While Hardy was performing, a few extra cameras would be placed around him to track the movement of his limbs and clothing in each individual scene. This footage was later used by the VFX team to build Venom's gooey body around Hardy's frame.
10 On location
Venom's chase scene may look quintessentially San Franciscan, but most of it was actually filmed in Atlanta. VFX supervisor Paul J. Franklin has explained that his team spent a lot of time editing street signs to make the footage look more like San Francisco. Atlanta is home to both CNN and Coca Cola's headquarters, and their presence is often reflected across the city's streets.
This picture from VFX Online gives a glimpse into the magnitude of the films production crew. When this many players are involved, workers often end up spending a lot of time waiting around until they are needed. Fortunately, they had a spectacular view to take in while they waited.
9 Hardy Feeling Homesick
Hardy has stated that the biggest drawback to starring in Venom was the time he spent away from his wife and kids. This selfie posted on Venom's Twitter captures the actor looking a little gloomy under the caption "Home." Hardy was likely feeling homesick at this point during filming. If he returns for a sequel, he will hopefully be able to bring his family along.
During the credits, Venom teased that Woody Harrelson might play a big part in the movie's sequel. According to Fleischer, Harrelson and Hardy got along swimmingly during a dinner the three had. If a second film is confirmed, the two can help lift each others' spirits on set.
8 Up close and personal
Most of Venom's plot follows Eddie Brock's conflict with the Life Foundation and his struggle to accept the symbiote living inside his body. Besides his internal struggle, Eddie is also often challenged by the people who surround him. In addition to Hardy, Venom's stellar cast showcases the talents of actors such as Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Reid Scott.
This behind-the-scenes photo captures a cameraman following Scott, Slate, and Hardy inside a medical facility. The operator is working with a Steadicam, which is a type of camera that can easily be mounted onto your body. Directors and DOP's usually discuss which equipment to use before they start shooting a film, since this can have a big impact on the finished product.
7 Bullit Hill stunt
San Francisco is one of the most iconic places to stage a car chase. Classic movies like Vertigo, Big Trouble In Little China, and Bullit have all used the city's unique layout to create interesting driving sequences. One of the locations that can be seen in Venom is actually nicknamed "Bullit Hill" after the '60s action flick.
This photo posted by Stunts Unlimited shows stunt-driver Jimmy Roberts riding a motorcycle atop a delivery truck. His job might seem exciting to most onlookers, but Roberts admitted that months of filming and preparations had left him itching to get out of the saddle. “I’m so tired of riding a motorcycle right now. I’m gonna take a break and go surfing for a while or something,” he told IGN.
6 Hardy Comes Into Focus
Hardy is known for going all in on his performances and for seamlessly incorporating wildly different characters. He has extensive knowledge of the craft, but refuses to confine himself to a certain method or approach. As seen from behind the screen, this photo gives us a director's view to one of his impassioned performances.
Despite Hardy's natural knack for acting, he has recently contemplated stepping away from the trade. The British performer currently writes and produces the television series Taboo, which he also stars in, and he's considered taking up directing as well. However, viewers do not have to worry about Hardy disappearing from the screen anytime soon. He is still signed on for two more Venom movies, and, judging by the film's success, Sony will likely follow it up with a sequel.
5 Tom Hardy's personal make-up artist
One of the perks of being a movie star is getting to travel around with your own hand-picked entourage. Hardy might not have many Hollywood quirks, but he does have a trusted co-worker whom he brings with him to every movie. The co-worker in question is makeup artist Audrey Doyle, who has worked as Hardy's personal makeup artist on most of his projects.
Doyle recently received a BAFTA award for her talents, so it is not surprising that Hardy feels secure in her capable hands. This black and white photo from Twitter shows the two working together on the set of Venom.
4 Taking A Break From Filming
Two weeks into filming, Venom's Twitter account posted an update from the set; Tom Hardy is seen taking a quick break on the bed of what looks like a trailer wagon. The photo gives off a tenser vibe than the one from the first day of production and shows that the hard work has begun.
Sleeping in a trailer does not always look inviting, but Hardy has had worse accommodations. During his teenage years he struggled with addiction and often ended up spending the night in jail. Hardy eventually checked into rehab in 2003 and has been sober ever since.
3 Controlling Dangerous Stunts
In this photo from VFX Online, we can see what filming on location looks like without the magic of post-production. In Venom, the streets of San Francisco look dimly lit, but this photo demonstrates how much light is needed to film at night. The production crew has also set up traffic cones to make sure that bystanders, crew members or motorists do not accidentally walk out into the area where they are filming.
The SUV's that are seen jumping in the movie actually performed the stunts in real life by speeding over ramps. When a 4000-pound car comes flying through the air, it is extremely important that no one tries to cross its path.
2 Tensions Flare During Production
Tensions tend to flare during the production of big-budget films. An extra day of shooting can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra expenses, which adds pressure on both actors and filmmakers. In this behind-the-scenes photo, Hardy can be seen discussing with a co-worker. Hardy may have just been looking for directions to the bathroom in this snapshot, but he would later fall victim to online gossip about his behavior on set.
According to The Daily Mail, the prolific actor reportedly stormed off set one day during filming and refused to come back until his lines were re-written. Complex performers like Hardy are often wrongly accused of diva behavior, but so far no one else has backed these claims up.
1 Actor And Director On Set
In an interview with Film Journal, director Ruben Fleischer singled out casting choices as a fundamental part of a film's success. Fleischer certainly managed to attract big names to Venom and picking Hardy for the lead turned out to be a perfect fit. This photo from the set reveals a pensive moment between the actor and director, who look like they are working out how to approach a scene-- or perhaps simply waiting for the coffee to boil.
Fleischer was a longtime fan or Hardy before he got on board and he has often raved about the actors abilities after their time together. "(Hardy's) always gonna elevate the material, and the scene that you’ve imagined, he’s gonna make it better," he told Collider, "That’s just what he does."
What's your favorite thing about Venom? Let us know in the comments!