Andy Serkis explains why he chose CGI for Venom: Let There Be Carnage symbiote performances instead of motion capture. The highly anticipated sequel to the 2018 film is releasing early now thanks to the record-breaking box-office of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, giving Sony the confidence to bump up Venom: Let There Be Carnage by two weeks to October 1, 2021. The film will find Venom (Tom Hardy) going face to face with his nemesis, Carnage (Woody Harrelson).
The film will be directed by Andy Serkis, who is one of the leading faces in motion capture technology. Serkis broke out with the technology playing Gollum in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and the Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Since then has helped pioneer the technology with roles as the ape in King Kong, Supreme Leader Snoke in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and Caesar in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy. He has also been hired as a motion capture consultant, helping out Mark Ruffalo with motion capture on the Hulk in the MCU.
Given Serkis’s history with motion capture technology, many assumed that he would bring that over to Venom: Let There Be Carnage. However, in Venom 2‘s production notes from Sony (via Comicbookmovie.com), Serkis explains that while he used some motion capture to get some of the physicality of Venom, he is primarily a CG character. The decision was made to allow Tom Hardy more freedom to perform. Serkis said:
“I’ve spent a considerable amount of my life playing a character with two sides to his personality. I knew that this film would be about how to free up Tom to imagine Venom’s presence. We knew it would not be helpful for him to act opposite a man in a suit, because Venom is a symbiote, coming out of him. We wanted to give Tom the freedom in his process to give the performance he wanted.”
One of the biggest surprises in the first Venom was how audiences seemed to react to the relationship dynamic between Eddie Brock and Venom. This was played up in the film’s subsequent marketing and has helped inform the creative direction of the sequel with Serkis describing Eddie and Venom as “the Odd Couple.” Both Eddie Brock and Venom are uniquely Tom Hardy performances, so it makes sense that Serkis would want to give Hardy the creative freedom to imagine Venom’s movement without being locked into choices made by an actor in a motion-capture suit.
Sony has many different Marvel films planned, with Morbius already completed and Kraven the Hunter recently being cast. Films based around Madame Web, Black Cat, and Silver Sable are all in various stages of development but it is unclear exactly what the films are building or connecting to, given that Venom: Let There Be Carnage is only the second film. Marvel Comics has recently delved deep into the symbiote mythology with the introduction of Knull, the creator of the symbiote race, and event series like King in Black hinting that this could be the direction in which Sony’s Spider-Man Universe is heading. Serkis could be using Venom: Let There Be Carnage to establish more about the symbiotes, both in their mythology and in how to portray them for later filmmakers to follow, just as he did for mo-cap technology with his historic motion-capture performances.
Source: Sony Pictures (via Comicbookmovie.com)