'Venom 2' Cast Adds 'The Irishman' Actor Stephen Graham As Producer Teases Possible R-Rating

Stephen Graham, who can currently be seen stealing scenes with his tiny shorts in The Irishman, is joining the Venom 2 cast. There's no word on who Graham might be playing, but he'll be starring alongside Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, and Naomie Harris. Andy Serkis is helming the sequel, which will bring back everyone's favorite big-tongued goo monster.Deadline has the scoop on Stephen Graham joining the Venom 2 cast. Graham is one of those great character actors who always makes an impression, even if his role is small. He was Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire, and has parts in RocketmanTinker Tailor Soldier SpySnatch, and many more. He'll next be seen in the dark reimagining of A Christmas Carol due out on FX this month. At the moment, though, he's getting everyone's attention as the short-tempered Tony Pro in The Irishman. His part isn't huge in the movie, but he makes the most of it, smacking ice cream out of Al Pacino's hand, showing up late for meetings while wearing shorts, and chomping on cigars.Venom 2 is being helmed by Andy Serkis, who takes over from Venom director Ruben Fleischer. Full plot details aren't available, but we know that Tom Hardy's Venom/Eddie Brock will have to deal with Carnage, played by Woody Harrelson. Harrelson had a cameo in a post-credit scene in the first film, showing up in a prison cell wearing the worst wig in cinema history. I really hope he keeps it for the sequel. Michelle Williams is returning as Anne Weying, Eddie's ex-fiancée. And Naomie Harris will play Frances Barrison, Carnage's love interest who becomes the villainous Shriek.

I wasn't a huge fan of the first Venom, but it did have a certain goofy energy that I enjoyed now and then. Hardy was a big reason for that, as the actor clearly went all-in on playing his role as big and broad as possible. If Hardy keeps that up for the sequel, and climbs into a few more lobster tanks, I'll be content. Swapping directors feels like another smart move.

Meanwhile, speaking with Cinema BlendVenom 2 producer Matt Tolmach says that the sequel might earn itself an R-rating now that Deadpool and Joker both showed how successful that could be. "I think what Joker does is it tells you that you can succeed," Tolmach said. "For a very long time, that was the narrative. And Deadpool sort of wrestled that to the turf, and then Logan, but for a long time, that was considered totally forbidden. ... So you know, I think it's the greatest thing in the world that R-rated movies are being embraced by massive audiences. And it just means that there are more opportunities for that kind of storytelling."

Venom was a huge hit, and Sony wants it to be the first of many films in their own Spider-Man universe separate from the MCU. In addition to the Venom sequel there's also Morbius, starring Jared Leto as the living vampire. That's due out in the summer of 2020.Venom 2 opens October 2, 2020.