In Marvel comics, the character of Venom was, functionally speaking, Spider-Man’s evil twin. The mythology surrounding Venom was far more complex (Venom is actually a living mass of intelligent shape-shifting glop that creates a biologically symbiotic relationship with a host and mutates to resemble the host’s clothing/costume. The glop once lived in Spider-Man’s body, but moved to end up in the body of Peter Parker’s rival Eddie Brock), but aesthetically Venom is little more than “evil Spider-Man”. When outside the host, the glop resembles a towering, muscular man coated in black oil and possessed of a smooth, shark-like face, complete with gnarled fangs and large, lashing tongue. It actually looks pretty gross.
Ruben Fleischer’s 2018 film “Venom” wisely left out any connections to Spider-Man (despite the post-credits cookie), focusing instead on the strange relationship Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a hard-hitting reporter, had with the alien intelligence. which had recently invaded his body. Over the course of “Venom”, Eddie and the creature come to an understanding and even become something resembling lovers.
Before that, however, Eddie has had a bit of a hard time getting used to the monster inside him, not understanding why his body temperature fluctuates, or why he suddenly develops an appetite for raw animal flesh. In one of the film’s more enjoyably silly moments, Eddie, while visiting his ex-girlfriend at a seafood restaurant, is struck by the urge to climb into the lobster tank and eat a still-living arthropod. As he revealed in a 2021 interview with BBC1, Hardy insisted that the scene be included in the film. The original plan was far less colorful.
Lobster and Hardy
Hardy revealed that the lobster scene was not in the script. In the scene in question, Eddie was trying to escape a conversation with his ex-girlfriend Anne (Michelle Williams) while trying to ignore the voices in his head. On the run, Eddie was supposed to just suffer an injury and fall to the floor. As Hardy explored the character moment further, he realized that Eddie was suffering from an illness, and needed to do something more extreme than just fall over and hit his head on a tank. No, he had to get into it. Among a few slightly sharp asides, Hardy said:
“[I]At first he runs and hits his head on the lobster tank and passes out and they take him to a hospital. But it made more sense that if you were to get a fever. And it also sounded really funny to say “I’m so hot.” Obviously I’m very attractive, but that’s not what he’s saying. It’s like, “Yeah, I’m actually really hot,” and rub yourself rather inappropriately in front of the customers, and then see the pool and just have to … Because you know, when you have a fever you don’t feel ready. . I just have to get in the pool, you know, and then cool down, then he cools down, and then have to tell the story.”
This may be something many readers can relate to. Not touching yourself inappropriately in a restaurant, but feeling so feverish and sick that you defy your better judgment to do something incredibly weird. One can find oneself with one’s head in a freezer, lying on the floor under a wet towel or sticking one’s hands in a public fountain. Hardy just took that impulse to a slightly wilder extreme.
I really wanted to
Movie sets can be full of nosy filmmakers and strict rules. Lead actors usually cannot deviate from the blocking, otherwise they risk stepping out of the film’s light or sound radius. Although small bits of dialogue and character work are handled by actors as they wish (depending on the leeway a director gives), larger, broader scenes cannot be invented on the fly. Hardy didn’t improvise climbing into the tank – which would certainly have been amazing – but the filmmakers had to comply with his request on the day of shooting, making sure that Hardy could climb into the tank without having to build one specifically meant for human capacity. Hardy said:
“[T]the designer said, “We don’t have a tank that can hold you.” I say, ‘Well, we need one, I want to go into the tank,’ so we did it! But I think it was a good idea. But it’s a subjective game, you know. I enjoyed getting into that mindset. I really wanted it and they made it happen for me.”
“Venom”, a 2018 film, is one of the best superhero movies of 1998, complete with its era’s wild ideas, lower budget and crazy performances. Hardy’s total devotion to such an odd pairing certainly carries the film a long way, and his insistence on things like climbing into a lobster tank gives “Venom” a little strange edge that allows it to rise above the generic. In the film’s even more boisterous sequel, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” Eddie and Venom confess their love for each other and they say the F-word. It’s bullshit.