In 2018, Spider-Man’s nemesis Venom stormed into theaters with his own solo film, which conquered the box-office and established the character as his own separate entity. But before Venom found his PG-13 rated success-story, filmmaker Josh Trank had pitched an R-rated take on the character to Venom producer Matt Tolmach. Unfortunately, Tolmach ‘hated’ the pitch, and Trank did not see eye-to-eye with him regarding their collaboration.
“I didn’t like how Matt Tolmach was coming at me in that situation, because it felt very kind of authoritative. Well, if you don’t like what I’m doing, and you’re telling me that I have to do something along the lines of what you want, and you’re going to tell it to me in this way – sorry, but I have other things I can be doing.”
There was a time when Trank was poised to be the next big thing in blockbuster filmmaking, after the mainstream success of his gritty, indie take on the superhero genre with 2012’s Chronicle, which told the story of three friends who gain superpowers after coming in contact with a mysterious rock, leading to all sorts of teen high jinks that taken an increasingly dark turn into full-fledged supervillainery.
The premise is quite similar to the origin story of Venom, where Peter Parker bonded with an alien symbiote that boosted his powers, but also made him give in to his darker urges. It would have been interesting to see what Trank would have done with the Venom mythology if he had been given the chance to make his own, R-rated take on the character.
As it is, the sequel to Venom, which is being worked on right now, might also be a PG-13 affair, despite constant demands by fans for an R-rated adventure in keeping with the character’s violent comic book origins. Tolmach has previously stated that a PG-13 rating had worked for the original film, and they would not change the status quo unless the story strongly demanded it.
Meanwhile, Josh Trank, who went on to make 2015’s Fantastic Four instead, had such a bad experience working on the critical and commercial bomb that he went underground for a long time, emerging quite recently to promote his upcoming film with Venom lead actor Tom Hardy. The movie is a biopic, based on the last days of notorious gangster Al Capone, simply titled Capone, as he succumbs to debilitating diseases amidst fantasies of his younger days.
It would be interesting to find out whether Trank ever shared his plans for an R-rated Venom movie with Hardy, who has been quite vocal about being disappointed that the original Venom had a lot of the more violent scenes cut to go from an R to a PG-13 rating.
However much (or little) violence we get to see onscreen, Venom’s cinematic journey is just beginning, with the most exciting prospect a crossover with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, the possibility of which has been teased by Hardy on social media more than a few times. This news comes from Polygon.