As popular as the current live-action adaptation of Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis Venom is among fans, there are still those who mourn the fact that the character’s 2018 standalone feature was rated PG-13 instead of the R-rating that Venom’s violent and gory comics history deserves. Now, filmmaker Josh Trank has revealed details about the hard R-rated Venom movie that he had pitched to the studio.
“I’m a huge fan of Todd McFarlane in general and Venom was just a character I’ve always loved. I immediately thought about The Mask. This could be like a really cool synthesis of everything about The Mask that I loved, but infused into the lore of this iconic Marvel character.”
Both The Mask and Venom stories share certain similarities. Venom is an alien symbiote that attaches itself to a host, who it grants superpowers to but also unleashes their darker side. Meanwhile, The Mask is a magical artifact housing the spirit of the God of Mischief Loki, which, once attached to the face of its host, grants them superpowers and unleashes their uninhibited side.
A mashup of Venom and The Mask makes sense on several levels. Unfortunately, Josh Trank goes on to reveal that his take on Venom was considered too out there for the studio to support.
“I definitely miscalculated being within the studio system with that kind of aesthetic. I thought this was an opportunity to make something really character-y, uncomfortable, and break ground in terms of having this super nuanced uncomfortable character story with the branding of a massive four quadrant superhero film. We turned in the treatment, and they didn’t like it. That kind of says everything.”
And so Josh Trank went on to make Fantastic Four instead, a movie that was a critical and commercial debacle, although how much of the blame for that lies with Trank or the production house is still not clear. Trank has not seen the 2018 Venom movie, but he is working on his new movie Capone with Tom Hardy, who played the role of the alien symbiote’s human host and also provided the voice for the symbiote, and Trank is glad the actor found so much success with the character of Eddie Brock/Venom.
“The fact Tom and I are so in sync with each other, it makes sense he would go into that using the perfect Jim Carrey as The Mask template type of character for Eddie Brock and Venom. I’m so happy it did as well as it did as it’s cool to know everyone loves Tom Hardy for that, and he’s one actor out there who’s really gonna go there while at the same time having real bona fide potential as an action star. It’s so rare.”
Hardy and Trank’s Capone had its trailer released recently, revealing a look at the last days of one of America’s most feared gangsters, Al Capone, as he grapples with syphilis and dementia in his last days while dreaming about the excesses of his youth. This news comes from ComicBook.com.