Venom Movie Changing Direction Again, Gary Ross to Direct

For quite a while now – at least, ever since the financial success of Spider-Man 3, a film that included the villain Venom (played by Topher Grace), to get a spin-off movie off the ground for Spider-Man’s sharp-toothed nemesis. And now we might have some new developments.

In April, Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick had said that they had been commissioned by Sony to write a script and pitch their idea for the Marvel Comics spin-off. When we talked to them last week, they gave us the impression that they were still working on the project, prepping a second draft for the studio. As far as anyone in the blogosphere could tell, the production of Venom was stalled. Until now…

In an interesting twist of events, Michael Fleming has posted an article at BFDealMemo stating that Sony is now in talks with Spider-Man 4 writer Gary Ross. According to the report, the studio is looking to bring in Ross – whose writing credits include Big and Dave – to rewrite the script and possibly direct. This would not be the first time in the director’s chair for the seasoned scribe, as he has previously directed Pleasentville and Seabiscuit.

As you might recall, Venom was seen on screen (portrayed by Topher Grace) in Spider-Man 3, and was met with mixed reactions from long-time fans. With that in mind, Sony’s intention is to completely reboot the character from scratch. According to Fleming’s report – and the concept of logic – the role will likely be recast.

The character of Venom is one that seems to bring up much contention among fans, as he is possibly the most popular adversary of Spider-Man, one of the cornerstones of the Marvel Comics universe. Just like many of you, I’ve long been a fan of Venom as the antithesis to Spider-Man’s goodness. The problem is that a spin-off (much like in the comics) might lose that relationship element between Venom and Spider-Man. So I’m interested to see how that would be done. Venom is an awesome character, a real nasty force, and he’s due for a more apt depiction on the big screen, but without Spider-Man the situation becomes quite muddled, doesn’t it? I’m interested to hear the thoughts of those of you who’ve read some of the Venom solo comics.

And for the record – I’m all for a Venom movie that sees him face off with Carnage, should that come to pass.

Sony is currently eying a May 6, 2011 release date for Spider-Man 4, with no official mention yet of Venom. According to Heat Vision, the studio had no comment on the involvement of either Topher Grace or Gary Ross in a spin-off. We’re currently investigating the situation further…

What are your thoughts on a Venom spin-off?

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