Academy Award nominee Tom Hardy looks set to hook up with ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and former ‘Dawson’s Creek’ star Michelle Williams in the much-anticipated, upcoming ‘Venom’ film project. The versatile British actor and producer has been linked with the first movie in Sony’s Marvel Universe for many months, but the identities of the rest of the cast list also now seem to be taking shape ahead of the expected October 2018 release.

Hardy to play Eddie Brock

Hardy is expected to take the lead role of Eddie Brock / ‘Venom’, an anti-hero commonly associated with the ever-popular Spider-Man in the original Marvel Comics.

Although previously it had been suggested that ‘Venom’ would be a Spider-Man spin-off, the latest news seems to indicate that instead, it will be a stand-alone film with the web-wielding superhero nowhere in sight.

Slate and Ahmed also in talks

The leading entertainment magazine ‘Variety’ suggests that Williams, comedian Jenny Slate (‘Obvious Child’) and Riz Ahmed (‘Jason Bourne’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’) are all in negotiations to feature in the film.

Given the early stages of the product, it is perhaps not too surprising to learn that their roles in the film are still not that well understood. Early indications, however, point to Williams portraying a district attorney with Slate thought to be slipping into a lab coat as a scientist.

Television and film star

Forty-year-old Hardy has produced a number of eye-catching television and film performances in recent years, notably excelling in the ambitious and much talked about BBC historical fiction programme ‘Taboo’. He was also nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category, as he starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2015 western ‘The Revenant’.

Complex Symbiote character

Venom’ is an intriguing American comic book character, a Symbiote or sentient alien with a gooey, almost liquid-like form. In order to survive it needs to find a host – commonly a human - endowing enhanced powers on the new dual-life form as a consequence once the bonding is complete.

Villain or anti-hero?

The Venom Symbiote’s first known host was believed to be Spider-Man, who was able to separate himself from the intruder, leading to a search for a replacement host in the form of a disgraced journalist Eddie Brock. As such, ‘Venom’ initially became an adversary of Spider-Man (who he blames for his fall from grace) but developed into more of a violent anti-hero over time, operating both with and against superheroes.