Venom's Wild Lobster Tank Scene Came At The Insistence Of Tom Hardy

In Marvel comics, the character of Venom was, functionally, Spider-Man's evil twin. The mythology surrounding Venom was far more complex (Venom is, in fact, a living mass of intelligent shapeshifting glop that creates a biologically symbiotic relationship with a host and mutates to resemble its host's clothes/costume. The glop once lived in Spider-Man's body, but eventually moved into the body of Peter Parker's rival Eddie Brock), but aesthetically, Venom is little more than "evil Spider-Man." When on the outside of its host, the glop resembles a towering, muscular man coated in black oil and possessed of a smooth, sharklike face, complete with gnarled fangs and big, lolling tongue. It's actually pretty gross looking.

Ruben Fleischer's 2018 film "Venom" wisely left out any and all connections to Spider-Man (post-credits cookie notwithstanding), focusing instead on the strange relationship Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a hard-hitting reporter, had with the alien intelligence that had recently invaded his body. Over the course of "Venom," Eddie and the creature come to an understanding and even become something resembling lovers. 

Prior to that, however, Eddie has quite a rough time getting used to the monster inside of him, unable to understand why his body temperature is fluctuating, or why he has a sudden appetite for raw animal flesh. In one of the film's more enjoyably silly moments, Eddie, while visiting his ex-girlfriend in a seafood restaurant, is struck with the urge to climb into the lobster tank and snack on a still-living arthropod. As he revealed in a 2021 interview with BBC1, Hardy insisted that scene be included in the movie. The original plan was far less colorful. 

Lobster and Hardy

Hardy revealed that the lobster scene was not in the script. In the scene in question, Eddie was attempting to flee a conversation with his ex-girlfriend Anne (Michelle Williams) while trying to ignore the voices in his head. In fleeing, Eddie was meant to merely suffer an injury and fall on the floor. Hardy, in exploring the character moment more closely, understood that Eddie was suffering from an illness, and needed to do something more extreme than simply fall over and bonk his head on a tank. No, he needed to get in it. Among a few slightly ribald asides, Hardy said: 

"[I]initially he runs and he banged his head on the lobster tank and passed out, and they took him to a hospital. But it made more sense that if you were coming up with a fever. And it also sounded really funny to say 'I'm so hot.' Obviously I'm really attractive, but that's not what he's saying. It's like, 'Yeah I'm actually really hot,' and rubbing himself rather inappropriately in front of customers, and then seeing the pool and having to just ... Because you know, when you have a fever you don't feel lucid. I just have to get in the pool, you know, and then cool down, and he cools down and then has to tell the story."

This may be something many a reader may be able to relate to. Not touching one's self inappropriately in a restaurant, but feeling so feverish and ill that one defies their better judgment to do something incredibly strange. One may find themselves with their head in a freezer, laying down on the floor under a wet towel, or putting one's hands in a public fountain. Hardy merely took that impulse to a slightly wilder extreme.

I really wanted to

Film sets can be full of tetchy filmmakers and strict rules. Lead actors can't typically stray from the blocking, else they run the risk of walking out of the movie's lighting or sound radius. Although small pieces of dialogue and character work are handled by actors however they might please (depending on the leeway granted by a director), larger, broader scenes cannot be invented on the fly. Hardy did not improvise climbing in the tank — which would certainly have been amazing — but the filmmakers did have to indulge his request the day of shooting, making sure Hardy could climb into the tank without having to build one specially meant for human capacity. Hardy said: 

"[T]he designer was like, 'We don't have a tank that will hold you.' I say, 'Well, we need one, I want to get in the tank,' so we did! But I think it was a right idea. But it's a subjective game you know. I enjoyed getting into that tank. I really wanted to and they made that happen for me."

"Venom," a 2018 film, is one of the best superhero movies of 1998, complete with the era's wild ideas, lower budget, and kooky performances. Hardy's total devotion to such a strange pair of roles certainly carries the film a long way, and his insistence on things like climbing into a lobster tank gives "Venom" a slight oddball edge that lets it rise above the realm of the generic. In the film's even loopier sequel, "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," Eddie and Venom confess their love for one another, and they say the F-word. It's a hoot.