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Although Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy remains one of the most successful superhero franchises in history, the third installment is not remembered too fondly. Mileage may vary, but some of the problems people had with Spider-Man 3 were the infamously cringe-worthy emo Peter Parker scene, the inclusion of too many villains and the miscasting of Topher Grace as fan favorite character Venom. While many fans wondered how the That 70's Show actor got cast as Eddie Brock, Topher Grace himself still isn't sure. Being cast as Venom came as a surprise to him, as he explained:
I was a huge fan of the character of Venom when I was a kid when Todd McFarlane brought him into the comic. I was a huge fan of it. And I was surprised and a little bit like 'Huh?' when they wanted me to play it. So when I look at it now, at the movie that's coming out, I go 'That's the guy.' In terms of how I think the guy should be played and who should play it.
Like countless others, Topher Grace grew up as a fan of the awesome-looking villain, so he had a good idea of who Venom was and what a big screen version of him should look like. So as he told Michael Rosenbaum on his Inside of You podcast, the casting came as a bit of a surprise and he isn't sure why he was chosen. Topher Grace had the self-awareness to realize that he was perhaps an odd choice for the role of the physically imposing character. As a comic book fan, now seeing Tom Hardy take on the character in the upcoming Venom, he instantly recognizes how much better of a fit Tom Hardy is for Eddie Brock. This time, Topher Grace will get to just be a fan watching one of his childhood favorites on the big screen.
Although he found his casting a bit surprising, you can see why Topher Grace would want the role. For one thing, he may not have fit the traditional depiction of Venom exactly, but the filmmaker's intent could have been to do something different with the character. Also, you never know what will happen, and sometimes what looks like terrible miscasting can be proven quite the opposite, as Hugh Jackman and Heath Ledger have shown. And as a huge fan of Venom, who could blame Grace for wanting to play him? I imagine most people would jump at the opportunity to play their favorite comic book character.
Ultimately Spider-Man 3's problems run deeper than a woefully miscast Topher Grace. In hindsight, I actually think he would have been far better suited to Cletus Kasady, a.k.a. Carnage, than Venom. Also, although many fans and Topher Grace alike think that Tom Hardy is right for the role of Eddie Brock/Venom, we still haven't seen the movie. So it's a little too early to crown the definitive big screen Venom just yet.
Topher Grace will next be playing a villain of a different kind in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman opening this weekend, and you can see the second big screen version of Eddie Brock when Venom arrives in theaters on October 5. For all the biggest movies still to come this year, check out our release schedule.