Gary Ross To Write/Direct Venom Movie

Sony has been developing a Marvel Comics spin-off of the Spider-Man villain Venom for some time now, but I never actually believed it would happen. Screenwriting team Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese had written two drafts on the character before moving on to Zombieland. And before Wernick/Reese, the company had previously commissioned Jacob Estes (Mean Creek) to pen a take. It seemed like one of those projects that was just doomed to development heck. Apparently not...

But BFDealMemo has learned that Sony is talks with Spider-Man 4 scribe Gary Ross to rewrite the script and possibly even direct the Venom spin-off. Ross plans to begin the rewrite as soon as he finishes up work on Spidey 4. I enjoyed the hell out of Zombieland, and was actually really interested to see Wernick/Reese's version. At the same time, I'm also interested to see what Ross will bring to the table. Ross' screenwriting credits include Big, Mr. Baseball, Dave, Lassie, as well as his two-directorial efforts Pleasentville and Seabiscuit.

Even though the character appeared in Spider-Man 3 with actor Topher Grace playing his human counterpart, the intention is to completely reboot the character in this spin-off. And I think hiring someone other than Topher for the role is a smart move as they really need to do everything they can to differentiate the spin-off from what many believe to be a lackluster third film.

When I was younger, and had more time to read comics, Venom was one of my favorites. But never once did I actually buy an issue of the Venom spin-off series, because I never thought it would be that interesting. And my thoughts are virtually the same on a Venom spin-off film. Venom is one of those baddies who is only as interesting as his opponent. And I'm pretty sure this project would be Spidey-free.

Sony has announced a May 6th 2011 release date for the fourth installment of the Spider-Man series. No word on if the Venom film would somehow be related or connected to that fourth story. Heatvision reports that the studio had no comment on Grace's involvement nor on Ross writing the project.