Tom Hardy's Process For Acting Opposite Venom For Let There Be Carnage Sounds Bonkers

Carnage screams in Venom: Let There Be Carnage
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Tom Hardy is the star of the Venom franchise, playing both Eddie Brock and the voice of the alien symbiote that has attached itself to Eddie’s body. It’s a symbiotic relationship (pun intended), and one that can be developed via CGI when the visual effects team is bringing the character to the screen. But how does Hardy do it on the day? How does he figure out the right way to act opposite Venom, especially in a sequel like Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which elevates the alien to a co-lead character? Is there a cut off time from when Venom’s lines can be recorded, so that they stay the same in the movie?

We had a chance to sit down with screenwriter Kelly Marcel, who contributed to the first Venom, and took over screenwriting duties for Venom: Let There Be Carnage. She told CinemaBlend about fine tuning the tone of the sequel, leaning a bit more into the comedy of the relationship, and figuring out new ways to help Eddie and Venom interact. Marcel is on set during the filming of Venom: Let There Be Carnage so she can help with the lines, and she explained to us:

You know what, actually, Venom’s dialogue can be rewritten, because he's all CGI. It's Eddie that you can't change. He’s shot in camera. So we can tweak Venom up to a point. Once his lip movements and everything are getting locked in with visual effects, we can't really change it anymore. We also do a lot of alternatives on the day. … You have to go into the day with Tom recording the Venom lines. And then we put an ear piece in Tom's ear and play Venom back to him. … But what's brilliant about that is that it means that I can sit in video village with a mic that's also connected to Tom's earpiece. And so as we're kind of going through the scene, if we're thinking of better Venom lines or funnier Venom lines or things that we'll have Tom react in a different way, we can throw them down the mic into his ear piece and kind of have him react, live in a scene.

As you no doubt know, that type of improvisation and collaboration isn’t possible in a standard acting situation, because going off script or changing dialogue mid-scene would throw off other actors who have come to work that day with their lines memorized and their side of a conversation rehearsed. Since the whole combination is Tom Hardy, he can funnel the advice given to him by Kelly Marcel and incorporate it into his performance in the moment. Marcel also said that Andy Serkis got in on the fun, explaining: 

He absolutely loves it. Andy can have a mic as well, and also say things. Tom is brilliant at reacting in the moment. So Andy could literally be like, ‘Hey Tom, you know, walk over to the fridge and open it.’ And they may have placed something in there to create a reaction in Tom that Tom was not expecting to find. It’s a very playful set. And I think actually it's why the movie feels so playful, because we're all just having a blast all day.Insert quote here

Kelly Marcel is right about that. Venom: Let There Be Carnage does a better job of tapping into the looney comedic vibe that exists between Tom Hardy and… well, Tom Hardy as Venom. The movie’s funnier, faster, but better looking than Venom, and you can see where it wants to go as more Venom movies are developed. Check the movie out once it reaches theaters, starting on October 1.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.