Most recently, the writers of "Zombieland" were the guys charged with cracking the code that would get this spin-off franchise off the ground, and while they were working on their script, Gary Ross was brought in to polish "Spider-Man 4." Sony must like what they see in Ross's work so far, because now they've hired him to rewrite "Venom" and possibly to direct it as well.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like a strange fit to me. Ross has always created movies that have a strong humanist bent to them, movies like "Big" and "Pleasantville" and "Seabiscuit" and "Dave." These are warm movies, with an innate sweetness. Before he got stuck in Spidey's web, he was working to develop a Lance Armstrong biopic for Sony, which sounds like the sort of thing I'd expect him to be making. But "Venom"? Really?!
I think the part I'm having trouble with is that Venom is, best-case scenario, an anti-hero. He's a monster. In Marvel's early incarnation of the character, there was nothing good about him, but now, somehow, he's being turned into a character who defends the innocent, according to Variety's report on Ross's hiring.
[more after the jump]
I'm not saying the job is impossible. Ross is a smart writer, and he's obviously capable of doing more than one thing. If Sony didn't like his work on "Spider-Man 4" so far, I'm sure they wouldn't rush to hand this picture over to him. I just think this one's going to be one of the most difficult of the Marvel movies to get right, and if Ross is determined to be the guy who gets it to the screen, I hope he's up to the task. I don't personally like the Venom character much, but I know a whole generation of comic book fans who consider him to be one of the most iconic characters that Marvel Comics has ever unleashed.
And after "Spider-Man 3," they deserve better.
We'll have more details on all of Sony's Spidey plans as they develop.
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