The man who played villain Ulysses Klaue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will now guide the exploits of another villain from Marvel Comics. Andy Serkis has officially signed on to direct Sony’s ‘Venom 2’, the follow-up to last year’s Ruben Fleischer-helmed surprise action hit. Serkis flew to Los Angeles the week of July 22 to meet with Sony brass about taking on the sequel. Serkis beat out a few directors for the job, including Travis Knight (‘Bumblebee’) and Rupert Wyatt (‘Captive State’). Serkis’ deal was confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter. Interestingly, Wyatt directed Serkis in a motion-capture performance as Caesar in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’.
‘Venom 2′ will be Serkis’ third film directing job, after the 2017 drama ‘Breathe’ which coincidentally starred ex-Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, along with Claire Foy, and last year’s ‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ for Warner Bros. That film was intended to be released in theaters, but wound up going directly to Netflix.
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While Serkis has appeared in the flesh as Klaue in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Black Panther’ and a few other pictures, he is mainly known for his expertise as a motion-capture performer and has wowed audiences in the ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies, as Supreme Leader Snoke in the ‘Star Wars’ movies, Gollum in the ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ flicks, and King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake. It was reportedly his familiarity with motion-capture technology that helped him land the ‘Venom 2’ gig.
Though Sony has not issued a statement, Serkis shared his excitement via Instagram:
The sequel will center on Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasaday/Carnage, a character that surfaced briefly in the first movie, and who was brought on by director Ruben Fleischer, who’d worked with Harrelson on ‘Zombieland’. Presumably, Harrelson will be back even without Fleischer’s involvement.
Tom Hardy is also expected to return as reporter Eddie Brock, who merges with an alien symbiote to become Venom.
‘Venom’ was trashed by critics, but audiences were much more receptive and it made $856 million worldwide.
‘Venom 2’ is expected in theaters on October 2, 2020.