Josh Trank Pitched a "Hard-R" Venom Movie That Its Producer Hated

Following the success of Chronicle in early 2012, filmmaker Josh Trank found himself the literal talk of the town and lined up jobs all over Hollywood. Trank, just 27-years-old at the time, became attached to a feature film adaptation of the video game Shadow of the Colossus, an adaptation of The Red Star for Warner Bros., and eventually signed on to direct the big-screen reboot of The Fantastic Four. There was another property that the director was attached to that didn't happen though, the long gestating feature film of Spider-Man villain Venom, and fresh details of his take have now come out.

In an extensive profile on the filmmaker at Polygon, the first details of Trank's take on Venom were unearthed which the author referred to as "a hard-R Venom in the vein of The Mask" (the Jim Carrey film from 1994). The outlet says that Trank and Big Fan director Rob Siegel (whom Trank had worked with on the Patton Oswalt-starring movie) spent two weeks developing a treatment for their take on the movie which was apparently met with immediate disdain from franchise producer Matt Tolmach.

“I didn’t like how Matt Tolmach was coming at me in that situation, because it felt very kind of authoritative,” Trank told the outlet. “Well, if you don’t like what I’m doing, and you’re telling me that I have to do something along the lines of what you want, and you’re going to tell it to me in this way — sorry, but I have other things I can be doing.”

As we know the live-action Venom movie did eventually get made with Tom Hardy starring as the anti-hero and director Ruben Fleischer stepping behind the camera. It's worth noting that the film ended up being rated PG-13 and went on to gross over $856 million worldwide and it seems unlikely that Trank's Hard-R version would have had similar success. Despite a fan push for the series to move into R-rated territory, franchise producer Avi Arad has cast doubt on it frequently.


"You know what? When you hear Venom…forget Venom. When you hear, Carnage, the only thing you can think of is R. But, if you know his story, if you really know the comic, there’s no R here," Arad explained in 2018. "He’s a tortured soul. It’s not about what he does, because we never have to show the knife going from here to there, and the blood is pouring. What you have to show is, what is the motivation? Was he born like that, or it’s someone we should feel for, because if you are succeeding to make a villain someone you can feel for, jackpot."

Trank's new film, the Tom Hardy starring Capone, will arrive on VOD next week with Venom: Let There Be Carnage scheduled to arrive on June 25, 2021.