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Although the daunting task of playing not one but two Marvel characters — one of them an eight-foot alien with a voracious appetite — was demanding on Tom Hardy, the Hollywood star took up the challenge as an opportunity to have fun in the much-anticipated sequel of ‘Venom’.

In ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’, out in UAE cinemas on October 14, Hardy returns as journalist Eddie Brock who has the misfortune of being infected by an alien symbiote whilst working on a journalistic expose.

“It’s a joy to play two different parts of a psyche because Venom and Eddie are one for me, they are just differentiated by the fact that one is the monster and one is Eddie but they are always contained within one individual,” said Hardy.

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Tom Hardy in 'Venom'

“It’s entirely orchestrated by the script and the script has been created by a writer who has been in the driving seat from the get-go so it’s great fun and I just want to keep challenging it and pushing it and seeing what else I can do with it.”

It’s that sense of fun, coupled with spectacular effects and thrilling choreographed action sequences that captured the hearts of audiences all over the world in 2018 when ‘Venom’ became a massive box office hit. Which is why Hardy and his collaborators, director Andy Serkis and screenwriter Kelly Marcel, had their work cut out for them when making ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’.

“You know this was a federation of people, great talents, who came together to have a lot of fun with the second episode of a franchise that we hope will become much loved in the world of superhero and fantasy movies,” Hardy said.

Alien invasion

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Action scenes in 'Venom' are spectacular

Hardy and Marcel have worked closely together on various projects for more than a decade with the latter also on the writing team on ‘Venom’.

The story was a brainchild of Marcel and Hardy together. Eddie wants a quiet life to concentrate on writing his book whilst Venom wants more action. Eddie wants to keep Venom a secret which isn’t easy when the unpredictable monster inside him can transform his body into a sinewy mass of tendrils that can leap up the side of buildings and fly through the air. But in their ongoing battle for dominance, they inadvertently unleash an adversary in the form of serial killer Cletus Kasady — played by three-time Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson — and his own symbiote, a ferocious alien killing machine known as Carnage, that will put them, and San Francisco, in mortal danger.

We first caught a glimpse of Kasady at the end of the first film and this time he takes centre stage.

“Woody is one of the coolest people I have ever met,” said Hardy. “As a human being and as an actor he is just formidable and 100 per trustworthy to deliver. There is nothing that you can present him with that will shock him, he has an answer, a solution to everything and he has a story to tell. As an artist he is just wonderful and such a brilliant, talented playful creative.”

The action sequences between Venom and Carnage are said to be the highlight of the movie.

“There are incredible action sequences in this one,” Hardy continued. “For me, this film is much more than the original. We’ve built on the first. We’ve developed this character and in this one we are pushing it story-wise, with plot, introduction of great new characters and mining the territory and investing in what we loved from the first film.

“And we’re adding to the thrill and spectacle elements with fantastic sequences that are completely different than anything we saw in the first. This is a new film, and a new world with new characters and new stakes.”

Finding a balance

Hardy is joined by Michelle Williams who returns as Eddie’s long suffering former girlfriend Anne Weying and Reid Scott as her new partner Dr Dan Lewis.

Hardy and Marcel immersed themselves in the comic book history of Venom and had an in house expert, producer Avi Arad, on hand throughout. “He is a Venom aficionado and has access to every single comic there is, all sorts of memorabilia, and he’s our resident Venom expert,” Hardy said. “And also there are plenty of Venom fans that we have dialogue with. Obviously we are making a movie that is going to continue on from the first and with eyes on hopefully making a third if that’s what people want.

“So we want to do our best not only to preserve elements that are recognisable not only to the hard core fans but also push Venom towards a wider cinematic audience who may not know who Venom is in the same way. So our version of Venom is a blend of our own playful imaginations whilst also honouring the comics to the best of our abilities whilst also making a PG13 film, so there are rules.”

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The alien in Tom Hardy's character

As well as the anarchic, dark and edgy energy Hardy brought to the roles of Eddie/Venom, there’s plenty of humour as well. Hardy described the two characters as an intergalactic Odd Couple. “Oh I think they’ve had enough of each other in some aspects,” he laughed. “It’s two people who are having to live together like a married couple or as flat mates who get on each other’s nerves. It’s just not working. There are things that we like about each other and things that we don’t like about each other.

“And trying to keep this situation contained is not as easy as Eddie might have thought it was going to be. We find them in the second movie having lived together for a significant amount of time and now it’s painful and irritating.

“You have the Odd Couple and one of them is extremely confident but not from this world and the other one is from this world and he is a neurotic coward.”

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Behind-the-scene from the sets of 'Venom'

It is, he said, part of the fun. “That’s the main thing, you’ve got to have fun — teenage fun, adult fun — and joy. These characters are great, they are so versatile and so much fun and there is so much fun to be had here.

“So it’s about how you orchestrate the fun within the rules of the game. So when you have a director like Andy Serkis and Bob Richardson as the DoP [director of photography], who did amazing films like ‘Platoon’, an incredible cinematographer, you know you have great people on board and a great bunch of collaborators.”

Hardy continued: “Andy [Serkis] has spent years in front of the camera as well as behind it and he’s done motion capture and animation and he understands story and nuance and vocal landscapes. He’s a great actor, a great director and a decent man too. He was perfect to direct this and has done an amazing job.”

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Don’t miss it!

‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is out in UAE cinemas on October 14.