It was announced earlier this week that rising actor and Emmy-nominee Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is in talks to join the Spider-Man spinoff Venom, which currently has Tom Hardy attached to play the titular anithero. Ruben Fleischer is directing the film for Sony Pictures.
It has been rumored for quite some time that the film’s main villain will be Carnage, a symbiote of Venom that at one point attached itself to the batshit crazy serial killer Cletus Kasady, making for one of the murdery-est Big Bads of all time. If this character inclusion proves to be true, it would not be a surprise that Sony would be out to several of the major male stars in search of a capable and layered character actor for the role. According to Variety, Ahmed is included on a short-list of actors for Sony that is also comprised of Matt Smith (Dr. Who), Pedro Pascal (Narcos), and Matthias Schoenaerts (A Bigger Splash, Rust and Bone). Although these stars are not the biggest names in Hollywood, they are nearly on par with Ahmed’s own rising star and have proven themselves quite nuanced in the indie world.
At this point, though, neither Sony, nor anyone else affiliated with the film, has confirmed Carnage’s involvement, let alone any of the aforementioned actors. For now, we have to take this speculation with a grain of salt, but with quite an impressive short list, it makes perfect sense that whomever is cast, be it Ahmed or anyone else, they will likely be playing directly opposite Hardy (i.e. in a villain role).
Venom has already began pre-production in Atlanta, Georgia, and has a slated release date of October 5, 2018. In the meantime, Ahmed is currently filming The Sisters Brothers with Jake Gyllenhaal and Joaquin Phoenix. To see his previous work, audiences can catch him in Netflix’s The OA, the limited series The Night Of, and in the upcoming indie film Una alongside Rooney Mara, who is garnering early awards buzz for the film.