In an unprecedented turn of events, Sony announced a while back that their previously cancelled Venom film, presumably a key entry in their planned Spider-Man cinematic universe, was back on track and in pre-production. With the character’s cinematic future owned by Sony, but now set to play out between Marvel AND Sony, it remains an intriguing mystery as to how everyone’s favourite Web-slinger could evolve in the years to come on the big screen.
Even more intriguing is the cinematic fate of Venom, the part-anti-Spider-Man part-anti-hero who’s history and persona is ripe for cinematic plucking. No solid information is currently known about Sony’s Venom film, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to countdown 16 actors who could portray one of the best-loved anti-heroes in the Marvel universe!
16. Chris Zylka
Depending on whether or not Sony chooses to base their Venom movies on Flash Thompson (aka Agent Venom), Chris Zylka is an obvious contender given that he played the character in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. He may not have the most extensive resume, but his role in the popular HBO series The Leftovers could work wonders for him here, and shows he can put out a decent performance despite his appearances in the likes of Piranha 3DD and Shark Night.
Keeping a character from Sony’s existing continuity may have some serious implications here however, as it may serve to confuse casual audiences who don’t understand why Spider-Man and Venom are in two completely different universes, and it’s hard to blame them for that. While it’s been made clear that the Venom movies are going to be completely separate from the MCU, casting Zylka in the role might just be the final nail in Sony’s self-constructed spider-coffin. – Alex Wyse
15. Til Schweiger
So here’s another interesting choice, and one of my personal favourites at that. Til Schweiger was so effortlessly cool as Hugo Stiglitz in Inglourious Basterds that I’ve been waiting to see him in more Hollywood roles for quite some time now, and this is the perfect opportunity for his return. Schweiger definitely has the ability to pull off a bitter, world-weary Eddie Brock whose discovery of the Venom symbiote allows him to give in to his darker impulses, and the German star’s look is also a great fit, having a ‘grizzled but chiselled’ kind of appearance that would suit the role of Eddie Brock excellently.
His accent may cause a small roadblock here, and clocking in at 52 years of age he might be a touch too old to spearhead a franchise as physically taxing as this; but hey, the same could be said about Liam Neeson, whose action career is stronger than ever at the age of 63. – Alex Wyse
14. Alan Ritchson
Given the points I made above, it might be wise to cast some fresh meat in the role of Flash Thompson, and Alan Ritchson definitely looks the part. Whether or not Ritchson has the chops to pull off an amputee war veteran remains to be seen, but after showing up as Aquaman in Smallville and appearing in a variety of sci-fi/fantasy projects such as Lazer Team, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he definitely seems to have the superhero bug; and as Ryan Reynolds recently proved, passion for a project can go a long, long way.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ritchson was also used as the physique and movement model for Ray Winstone in Beowulf, a film with some dazzling action sequences, proving that Ritchson certainly has the physicality for the role. – Alex Wyse
13. Jack O’Connell
Should Sony decide to go with a younger incarnation of Eddie Brock, Jack O’Connell could certainly be an interesting choice for the role. This is a young actor with some serious range, proving himself to be a magnetic leading man in films such as Unbroken and ‘71, whilst showing his darker, more sadistic side in films like Eden Lake.
The real question though is whether or not he can strike a balance between the two, as Sony likely intends to present Brock as an anti-hero of sorts, especially given their perhaps ill-advised intention to make Venom a franchise; not to mention the overwhelming success of Deadpool. O’Connell is ahead of the game yet again in this regard however, as his star-making role in drama series Skins proves he can use his charm to make a brash, violent and at times antagonistic character seem sympathetic and redeemable. If that isn’t exactly what Sony is hoping to find, I don’t know what is. – Alex Wyse
12. Ben Mendelsohn
While this is an unconventional choice, it’s one that I firmly believe could work wonders for the both the movie and the character of Eddie Brock. Arguably one of the best actors working today, Ben Mendelsohn’s roles range from complex villain to lovable loser and everything in between. Sure, he might not look like the traditional Eddie Brock, but this could actually end up working in his favour.
With the Venom symbiote acting almost like a drug in the comics, it would be really interesting to see a weak, deadbeat Eddie Brock become addicted to the power that the symbiote gives him; feeling more in control of his life than ever whilst simultaneously losing control of his impulses, his humanity and even his mind along the way. To top it all off, Mendelsohn has the fantastic ability to give a sense of warmth to even the most flawed characters as evidenced by his roles in films such as Mississippi Grind, and this would be instrumental in giving Eddie Brock some much-needed dimensionality and likeability despite his questionable decisions. – Alex Wyse
11. Brock Lesnar
This one is for the WWE fans out there. While it’s highly unlikely that Brock Lesnar will be considered for the role, there’s a large subset of wrestling fans who would consider this dream casting, although I personally disagree. While Lesnar doesn’t quite have the serious acting talent it would take to carry the project, people had a similar reaction to Dave Bautista after he was cast as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy, yet he ended up being a genuinely fun presence in the movie. Should Sony decide to give the film a 1990s comic book, B-movie sensibility, then who knows? It could actually work.
It should also be noted that Lesnar actually bears a striking resemblance to Eddie Brock, but despite the massive size of his shoulders, whether or not they’re capable of carrying a whole movie is another question entirely. – Alex Wyse.
10. Charlie Hunnam
This is my only choice that even remotely resembles Eddie Brock in the looks department. But then again, he is sitting pretty in my number one spot for a reason. With his years on Sons of Anarchy playing numerously conflicted Jackson “Jax” Teller, Charlie Hunnam is well versed in a gritty role. He’s also at a stage in his career where Jax Teller doesn’t have to be his defining acting role. He’s in a perfect spot to swoop in to the superhero, or this case, villain role. – Ariana Zink
9. Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal has been ready to play a character like Venom for a while. He has multiple years of experience under his belt, and he’s just going darker with his role choices. Nightcrawler alone should at least get him a consideration from the casting director. Many well established actors like him have already gotten in on the superhero fun, and he did audition to be the original Spider-Man. Granted, that was over a decade ago. He would have so much fun with it. – Ariana Zink
8. Jack Gleeson
Everyone’s favorite little shit to hate from Game of Thrones. Jack Gleeson could potentially turn out an interesting portrayal of Venom. Think about it – he spent four seasons in the mind and skin of King Joffrey Baratheon, arguably more monster than Venom could ever hope to be. He’s proven to be an actor capable of handling and delivering a twisted character, and also understanding his character’s motives and complexities. If you’ve ever seen Gleeson talk about Joffrey, you almost feel sorry for Joffrey. Almost. Because of his body type, I would image him more as a young Eddie Brock just starting his career, somewhat like Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3, but not really like Topher Grace. Nobody wants to be compared to that. – Ariana Zink
7. Ryan Kwwanten
Even though we really don’t need much convincing for the True Blood, I’ll make my claim anyway. Kwanten has everything we need for a new age Eddie Brock and is the only one who best resembles the character as well. The golden locks, the lean build, the charming personality and the witty appeal. I mean, by now everyone must have seen his noire inspired short film on YouTube, Truth in Journalism, in which he already plays Brock and becomes his symbiotic counter part. If that wasn’t a bid for the role then I’m just not sure what is. If it were up to me, I’d say that the former Jason Stackhouse already has the character in the bag and he would be great to see as one of Spidey’s most notorious foes. – Jesse Acevedo
6. Taron Egarton
In 2014, Taron Egarton made his big debut in the United States in Kingsman: The Secret Service as Eggsy, an edgy, wise cracking, parkour loving street punk who becomes a spy for a top secret British organization. If Egarton has proven anything in his role, it’s that he knows how the exude a natural sense of confidence and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty from a brawl.
With his sharp jawline, stern brow, and well toned physique, he already has the build to be an intimidating figure. Throw that in with a few snarky one liners and some great action sequences and we just might have the foundation for what could be a very memorable performance. – Jesse Acevedo
5. Zac Efron
Within the past few years, Zac Efron has been doing one hell of a job at leaving behind any memory of his High School Musical days. Lately, he’s taken on an array of roles which have allowed him to show off his maturity and down to earth sense of humor. Not to mention that the Baywatch star has been putting in some serious hours at the gym and is now totally bulking and shredded. One might even be able to see a hint of resemblance between him and the Eddie Brock portrayed in the 90’s Spider-Man animated series. With his rugged good looks, superhero build, and his capacity for playing a likable jerk, Efron could definitely pull of the role of Venom… As long as there aren’t any more musical numbers associ¬ated with an evil symbiote’s influence. – Jesse Acevedo
4. Dave Franco
Now Dave Franco might seem like a bit of a stretch, but just hear me out. As we all know by now, Franco has definitely been establishing himself as a popular young comedic actor. The former Scrubs star has a highly energetic frat boy perso¬na who you can’t help but love and be entertained by. So with that already working for him, I’d like to think about this old saying: “Drama is easy, but comedy is hard.” If Franco can already pull off the outlandish roles that made him a hit, surely he can pull off being Brock. I mean, in the past comedic actors have been known to surprise us with their more serious roles.
A few instances that come to mind are Jim Carrey in The Number 23, Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, and more recently, Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul. Now, while Venom might not carry the same intensity as those other roles did, I feel quite positive in saying that Franco could bring a nice balance to this character and help solidify himself as more of a leading actor rather than a sidekick. And if his brother is any indication of the talent that the Franco family posses, then surely Dave would be a great fit. – Jesse Acevedo
3. Adam Driver
Adam Driver is a bit of an insane person already, and his career is thriving off of it. He’s busier than ever, so maybe he wouldn’t have time to jump into a commitment like Venom, which is why he’s not farther down on the list. His breakout role on Girls demonstrated he has some crazy instincts as an actor; probably as a person too. He’s able to balance a lot of his character’s emotions and their layers on his gawky shoulders. He would be an excellent addition in bringing life back into Sony’s franchise. – Ariana Zink
2. Austin Butler
The break out star of MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles, Austin Butler. This relatively fresh face has been making his mark in television with some pretty impressive acting chops and a willingness to take on a lot of action roles. As Wil Ohmsford on The Shannara Chronicles, Butler is constantly engaging in pulse pounding chase scenes and fighting sequences. On Arrow, he had a brief run as Chase, the undercover member of the League of Assassins who was out for Thea Queen’s heart, both figuratively and literally. These roles just go to show that a guy like Butler is already experienced at starring in roles involving the supernatural and fantasy and he would most likely be down for giving this role his best.
Also, Butler tends to exude a smoldering quietness about himself which can also make him charming and un¬predictable. Both are qualities that could fit right in with the Eddie Brock category. And while he does have a very smooth and youthful face, that might now be such a bad thing. After all, our main hero, Tom Holland is portraying a rather young Peter Parker himself. It would only make sense that one of his most challenging adversaries matched up with him in age and appearance as well. – Jesse Acevedo
1. Jamie Bell
If there’s anything that 2016 has shown us, it’s that this is definitely the year for superhero redemption. Let’s face it, the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot was a total flop and that’s no secret to anyone, but that doesn’t mean it was necessarily the actors’ fault. Jamie Bell is a fantastic performer and he’s proven it regularly as the lead on AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies. So maybe the role of Ben Grimm just wasn’t the right fit for Bell. Maybe instead of performing the motion capture for a giant rock-monster hero, he could pull off performing as an alien-monster anti-hero instead? Everyone deserves a second chance and we can all think of at least TWO A-list actors who just got theirs. Just sayin’… – Jesse Acevedo
Do you agree with this list? Did we miss any actors who could portray Venom? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!