Venom stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist who merges with an alien symbiote to become the titular anti-hero.  The new comic book movie is directed by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer and is a combination action-film, comedy, and dark horror.  Venom also stars Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Reid Scott.

Psychology of a Businessman

Riz Ahmed plays Carlton Drake, a scientist and powerful businessman surrounded by a cult of personality.  He is researching alien symbiotes in hopes of discovering the next step in human evolution.  When asked how he approached the character, Ahmed said, “Well, you know, it’s interesting that you say he’s a cult leader because really what he is, is he’s the head of a big technology company. And if you think about lots of the big companies that really control so many different aspects of our lives and how we interact with each other, what we consume, how we kind of mediate the world and our experience of it. You could say there’s something cultish about that in terms of the reach, the power, the personality cults, the Great Man Myth that a lot of these companies kind of build themselves around.”

“So, it was that element, but I wasn’t drawing from cults or anything like that. Really, I was just drawing from the reality of what a lot of these billionaire industrialists and their ambition seems to enable them to try and achieve. And Carlton Drake is someone whose ambition reaches as far as the stars and that’s a situation that we live in right now as well. We’ve got lots of people sending rockets into space to explore and explore space as a frontier. So, to be honest, the research for this was in the times that we’re living in and it was at my fingertips.”

Psychology of Slate

Jenny Slate is better known for her comedic roles in television and film.  In Venom, she plays Dr. Skirth a more stoic character.  When asked about playing such a different role, Slate said, “Well, we all have sort of various aspects in our psyche. Which is actually a comment that’s sort of appropriate for this film. But I’m really peppy. I started my career in comedy because that is what comes naturally to me. And also, when I’m nervous I tend to make jokes and I tend to try to make people smile to reassure myself that people are kind. But there’s also a very still part of me and a serious part of me.  And I’ve been acting for maybe six years, but before that, I always was a student in one way or another.  Like there’s an academic portion of my life as well.  So, it didn’t really feel like I was stepping very far out of what I know. Although I don’t, you know, normally wear a lab coat. Or glasses. No, I don’t have glasses. I got 20/20.”

Psychology of The Other Guy

Reid Scott plays Dr. Dan, the romantic rival to Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock.  When asked about his characters relationship to Brock and Anne, played by Michelle Williams, Scott said, “So, my character, Dr. Dan, is in a nice cozy little love triangle with Michelle William’s character Anne and Eddie Brock played by Tom Hardy. But we wanted to do something a little different in this love triangle. I think we’ve all seen the classic love triangles where the old guy hates the new guy. The new guy feels threatened by the old guy and then you’re just wondering how they’re going to duke it out and fight over the girl who’s going to throw her hands up and be frustrated by how meat-heady these two idiots are and stuff. So, we didn’t want to do anything like that.”

Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Deadline/REX/Shutterstock

“We had a lot of fun playing with that.  And where we sort of landed is… [the director] Ruben Fleischer and I talked about the character in the early days of shooting.  I was like, ‘What if he just loved Eddie? What if he just thought Eddie was just cool and almost couldn’t help himself around Eddie a little bit? And that would, in its own way, it’s not a tactic, because I think it’s very authentic on Dr. Dan’s part. But that in and of itself would sort of put Eddie on the back foot. Like, ‘Who is this?’ Assuming they’re going to square off and it just doesn’t happen. And in fact, Dr. Dan actually has to help them out a little bit.”