Venom Interview: Director Ruben Fleischer On The Film’s Success, Its Potential Sequel, And Zombieland 2

Tom Hardy and director Ruben Fletcher on the set of Venom.

They did it. They did the impossible. Sure, there were many people out there who knew that making a Venom film would be a profitable endeavor — it’s why they moved forward with it to begin with — but there was no predicting just how well it would end up doing for them. Of course, there are a lot of folks who are responsible for the movie’s box office success, and one such man is director Ruben Fleischer, who really brought forth his fun and irreverant vision to the big screen.

I recently had a chance to chat with Fleischer on the phone and in our conversations, we discuss Venom‘s success, its potential sequel, and his upcoming work on Zombieland 2.

Venom is out now on Digital and will hit Blu-Ray and 4K on December 18, 2019.

LRM: So first of all, gotta say, congratulations on the film’s performance at the worldwide box office. It has hit 851.3 million dollars worldwide. That is absolutely insane.

Fleischer: I agree.

LRM: I have to ask, going into it obviously you and Sony had high hopes that this would do well, has this exceeded expectations around where your measurements were in your head when you were making this thing?

Fleischer: Yeah, no, I never would have guessed anywhere close. I’m really thrilled that audiences all over the world seem to really embrace the film and the characters and Hardy’s performance and Venom himself. It was really exciting.

LRM: Yeah, absolutely. I know way back when, before the movie came out you mentioned that you’d be open to perhaps an unrated cut, would you still possibly be open for that?

Fleischer: I’m proud of the movie we’ve put out, and I think that the additional material on the DVD adds a little bit of color to the film. I don’t feel the need at this point to release an unrated version, I feel like fans seem to really like the movie that we put out.

LRM: Now there has been something going around about obviously a sequel seems inevitable at this point given how much the movie has made. Any word on your end about that?

Fleischer: I mean, all I can say is that you guys can expect a sequel, but any details other than that, at this time I can’t really talk about.

LRM: One detail I noticed. When the trailer first hit for Venom, and there was a pronunciation of symbiote as sym-bye-ote, and the internet it lost its marbles over that. But when the film came along, it was pronounced sym-bee-ote. Did you have to go in and reshoot that or was it simply like a looping thing that you guys did, and where did that come from in terms of motivation?

Fleischer: I don’t wanna point fingers at anybody, but I will say that the way that the trailers are made is not through the editorial. They kind of take the footage and make their own trailers. They selected a take in which it was mispronounced, but that was corrected immediately on set, and actually, we never had to loop any of those lines ’cause in the performance, it was already pronounced as people expected to hear it. The take the chose happened to be one where it was mispronounced.

LRM: Ah, okay, well that makes sense. So what would you say in the making of this movie was sort of the biggest I guess thing hanging over your head about it, that you were trying, the biggest challenge I guess I’ll say apart from obviously this is a big and beloved character, the big obstacle you had to overcome through the production process.

Fleischer: For me the look of the character was the most challenging thing just ’cause as a fan of the comic I just wanna make sure that we did justice to Venom from the comics. Certainly fans had opinions about how he looked in Spiderman 3, and I wanted to make sure that we made sure that he was as true to the comics as we could possibly make him. But the challenge was that due to the just nature of our movie, I couldn’t use the iconic symbol on his chest. So for me the biggest challenge was trying to come up with a super authentic comic version where I had to reimagine sort of like the most distinctive aspect of his whole appearance. And so, for me, I’m really proud honestly of the fact that audiences embraced our version, and it seems like for most people at the end of the day, whether or not he didn’t have a spider on his chest wasn’t a deal breaker for the character. They could still enjoy the movie, they could still enjoy our version of the origin story despite the fact that it deviated from the comics just in certain regards.

LRM: And I know a lot of people were very skeptical that this movie could work without going incredibly sort of dark and morbid. And the movie itself isn’t, I mean, it’s as dark as it needs to be, but I wouldn’t call it morbid at all. It’s pretty fun. And I know a lot of fans going into would have thought kind of the exact opposite. Did you face any resistance be it internally or maybe even externally about approaching it in a more lighthearted way?

Fleischer: No, because I always saw the comics as being darkly comedic. That’s part of what I was drawn to about the character and the opportunity with the film. I’ve had a history of making comedy movies, so for me to, I wanted to make sure that we infused it with comedy. I think that, you know, that’s true to the, if you wanna do really true to the comic’s version, it would be inauthentic to do a humorless version. I think it’s essential to the character.

LRM: I know right now you’re getting in the process of prepping for Zombieland 2 and all that. Can you tell us anything about that?

Fleischer: Yeah, it’s been a joy, that cast is just one of the all-time greatest casts. And so to get to work with them all again, especially they’ve all gone on to do some pretty amazing things since we last worked together. So I’m beyond thrilled, it’s just some of my favorite people and certainly some of my favorite actors. It’s really exciting.

LRM: That first one has kind of gone on to be sort of a big cult hit amongst fans and all that. Was there any hesitation from any of the actors to come back for the second one? I guess is there a reason maybe why it took as long as it did to come to fruition?

Fleischer: I think collectively we all felt very strongly that the only circumstance we’d be willing to make the movie is if it’s as good or better than the original. And none of us were willing to compromise on the quality of the movie. We worked on the script real hard to make sure that it was up to par with the original. And so, that was just a stipulation that we were all completely on the same page about. I’m proud to say I think our script is really great, in that the movie will be as good as the original if not better, and that’s why we’re all back.

LRM: Awesome, we’re looking forward to that one for sure. I know some time ago you were also attached to a project called Jekyll, which is an adaption of a BBC miniseries. Has there been any movement on that one recently?

Fleischer: When I was developing that movie, it was, I kind of had to jump from that to go to Venom. There’s a lot of similar themes in the two films, I think that’s why I was attracted to both in terms of the theme of duality. You could argue that there’s a Jekyll and Hyde relationship between Eddie and Venom. For me, having done Venom, that kind of negated the desire to do Jekyll. It feels like maybe it’ll overlap a little too closely for me.

LRM: Actually I was wondering that exactly. And actually this may bleed into you can’t tell me territory, but I am curious, obviously very interesting relationship between Eddie and Venom and all that. Where would you naturally see their next evolution, their relationship go, going forward?

Fleischer: I mean, the first movie was about them meeting, right. It was about their coming together. So there’s a natural evolution from that to like, okay, now what’s it like to live together? It’s like a bromantic sort of relationship.

Venom is out on Digital now!

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