I remember when the first Venom came out and got terrible reviews. I avoided seeing it.
That was my mistake. When I finally caught it on streaming, I was treated to a manic movie about a man torn apart. Somehow, it was also hilarious? It's hard to pin down why I liked it so much, but a lot has to do with Tom Hardy's virtuoso performance as the hero/villain. The guy can commit to the bit, and I appreciate that above all else.
Now, with the sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, new franchise director Andy Serkis takes all his expertise and adds to the film, building something profoundly weird. And that's kinda exactly what I want from these movies. Just get strange, and I'll sort it out in the parking lot after.
Serkis joined Notes on a Scene to break down a section of the movie where Venom and Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) come together in an argument that turns into an altercation. Serkis walks us through his vision for the sequence frame by frame and highlights where exactly Hardy adds his own sound effects. Which is a lot of places.
Check out this video from Vanity Fair and let's chat after.
Andy Serkis Breaks Down a Scene from Venom: Let There Be Carnage
As Serkis mentions at the top, in the scene, Venom and Eddie finally come to blows over their disagreements. There's a lot that goes into prepping something like this though.
First, they have to decide how they want to shoot a scene like this one. For Serkis, it was an oner that captures the hysteria and strangeness of the conversation. To time that out perfectly, Hardy not only has to know the blocking, but he also has to prep both roles, Venom and Eddie.
Hardy records Venom's dialogue and then plays it into his ear and reacts off it. That means he finds his own pacing between himself and the sound operator who is playing the lines back in his ear. To make sure the oner works, they let Hardy be the tour de force behind it, rehearsing and blocking but never making it feel too scripted.
After everything is shot, they go back in and add the Venom head coming out of Eddie, and drop the dialogue into his mouth. That means animating features like eyebrow movement and even jaw movement, to make the symbiote feel more "human" and to anthropomorphize it a bit more. They also have to talk logistics. Like how does the symbiote seep through clothing?
They decide that it can come through the pores of the material, so that actually makes a conversation with the costume designer important before they shoot. They also know it won't look good going through white, so costumes are designed around colors that will reflect well with the VFX.
That all comes together before Hardy steps onto the set. When he's there, it's just him, the mic in his ear, and a swirling performance all captured by the team. Oh, and those sound effects you hear when he's fighting Venom? Hardy made them with his mouth, miming them even before the VFX were added to give a sense of both surreality and fun to the scene. Just another layer that goes into these kinds of movies that seldom gets appreciated.
Surreal and psychotic humor make this one of the most fun franchises out there. Will you be seeing the newest film? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Vanity Fair