Play­ing the hero and the mon­ster all wrapped up into one char­ac­ter in­trigued Tom Hardy. The Os­car nom­i­nee, who has played his fair share of vil­lains and even twin gang­sters on the big screen, joins the Mar­vel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse as Venom.

The stand-alone film tells the story of jour­nal­ist Ed­die Brock, who bonds with a pow­er­ful alien sym­biote. Q: Did you read any su­per­hero comic books when you were a kid?

A: I had a look at Spi­der-Man and a look at Bat­man but I found them too com­pli­cated for me as a young­ster. I re­mem­ber those sorts of comic books be­ing for a more dis­cern­ing crowd. There were record col­lec­tors and comic col­lec­tors; they were spe­cific to a cer­tain type of per­son. I used to watch Bat­man on the telly, the orig­i­nal show where he is wear­ing grey Ly­cra, and I used to watch the old movie over and over again where Bat­man fights the rub­ber shark. Q: What about now you have kids?

A: Hav­ing chil­dren my­self, I’ve re­alised that they know ev­ery­thing about this stuff ! But when I looked at Su­per­man and I looked at Spi­der-Man, I wasn’t drawn into their hero­ism. They were cool for an eight-year-old but they didn’t hold me as an adult. I grav­i­tate to­wards things that are a lit­tle darker. Q: What did you think of Venom when you first came across him?

A: Now, Venom is cool, man – he’s a badass. My son was telling me all about him – he loves Venom. He’s a great char­ac­ter to play be­cause Venom is ruth­less and, ba­si­cally, there are no rules. He’s so com­plex.

Q: Do you see your­self as play­ing mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters in this film – Ed­die Brock on the one hand, then Venom on the other hand?

A: Yes. There was a lot of range to play within the psy­cho­log­i­cal dy­nam­ics of this su­per­hero movie. And I found that to be ex­cit­ing be­cause it is multi-per­son­al­ity: one is a hu­man char­ac­ter and the other is an alien. I get to play op­po­site a seven-foot-tall crea­ture. And Ed­die Brock has to han­dle that liv­ing in­side him. The two of them have a union in one. “We are Venom”, is their mantra. Q: Did play­ing these two el­e­ments in one char­ac­ter re­call your work on Leg­end?

A: It is sim­i­lar to Leg­end in a way. I thought it would be re­ally cool be­cause I could pick up where I left off play­ing the Kray twins in Leg­end. And with Venom ,I could do it in both fan­tasy and re­al­ity. Venom has an in­sa­tiable ap­petite and doesn’t con­form to any of our hu­man rules. It is like the Mi­das Touch – you have ev­ery­thing and noth­ing. The two of them, Ed­die and Venom, they need each other. If one of them dies, then they both die. They’re like an odd cou­ple. One is a seven-foot alien and the other is a five-foot-nine in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist who would rather not run up a build­ing. In a way, Ed­die is forced to come to terms with the darker side of his per­son­al­ity that the sym­biote brings out.

Q: Did you like the fact that this film is solely about Venom and does not fea­ture Spi­der-Man?

A: The movie stands alone, ab­so­lutely. A man gets a par­a­site in him that turns into a f---ing big alien. That in it­self held wa­ter. There are sev­eral re­cip­i­ents of Venom in the Mar­vel his­tory and I was open to what my ver­sion of that might be, and what I might do with the char­ac­ter. It didn’t make much dif­fer­ence to me whether he ends up in the wider Mar­vel uni­verse later on. I just wanted to play Venom. Venom opens in cin­e­mas on Thurs­day.

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