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Tom Hardy to Star in ‘Venom,’ Ruben Fleischer to Direct

Tom Hardy will star in Sony’s long-awaited “Spider-Man” movie “Venom,” with “Zombieland” helmer Ruben Fleischer on board to direct.

While “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is still two months away from opening, Sony is acting quickly to build its extended universe, which starts with the “Venom” movie.

Although the studio has been meeting with directors for some time, the actor selection process sped up after Hardy exited J.C. Chandor’s action-thriller “Triple Frontier,” and Sony saw an opportunity to court an in-demand talent.

Fleischer showcased his ability to bring together dark themes and humor in “Zombieland,” and according to sources, Hardy is a huge fan of Venom. Hardy’s only previous film in the superhero genre is 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” in which he played another baddie, Bane.

Scott Rosenberg (“Jumanji”) and Jeff Pinkner (“The Dark Tower”) will write the script for “Venom,” with Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach producing the movie, along with Amy Pascal. Palak Patel and Eric Fineman are overseeing the project for Columbia Pictures.

“Venom” is set to hit theaters on Oct. 5, 2018.

Since its inception in 1988, Venom has been one of “Spider-Man’s” most popular characters, making it a top priority for the studio to get a movie off the ground. The character is an alien symbiote that needs a human host to survive. The alien vests its victim with incredible powers. Venom made his first big-screen appearance in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 3,” where he was portrayed by Topher Grace.

Throughout the history of Marvel Comics, Venom has appeared alongside Spider-Man, Iron Man, Deadpool, Hulk, and other Marvel Comics characters.

Hardy most recently starred in the FX series “Taboo” and can be seen next in Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic “Dunkirk.” He is repped by CAA and United Agents.

The film marks Fleischer’s first major tentpole since signing with CAA last year. He has primarily been working in the TV world, specifically on Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet.” He is also currently developing a sequel to “Zombieland.”

Fleischer is also repped by Management 360.

Hardy posted a photo of himself in a Venom T-shirt to celebrate the announcement.

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