When we go see Sony's Venom this weekend, it sounds like we might be seeing it without many of the star of the film's favorite moments intact.
Tom Hardy, who plays Eddie Brock/Venom in the film, sat down with co-star Riz Ahmed last week for an interview with Comics Explained, and in the course of that interview they got a pretty straightforward press junket question: What was their favorite scene in the movie to film? Normally when stars get this question, they'll hint at something that they can't quite spoil and give a sort of "When you see it, you'll love it" answer, but Hardy went a different route. According to him, we won't even get to see his favorite scene, because it was cut, along with quite a few other things.
“There are scenes that aren’t in this movie. There are like 30, 40 minutes' worth of scenes that aren’t in this movie,” Hardy said. “Mad puppeteering scenes. Dark comedy scenes. You know what I mean? They just never made it.”
Ahmed, for his part, seemed to try to cover at least a little bit for his co-star, noting that Hardy was talking about scenes that were favorites because they were fun for him to film, but behind-the-scenes fun aside, they were perhaps cut simply because they weren't good enough to be in the film.
"I hate to break it to you," Ahmed said with a chuckle.
Hardy was game for the laugh, and even referenced either the "Sad Affleck" meme or, for certain comedy fans, a particular recurring gag in Arrested Development.
“Is that 'The Sound of Silence' that plays on my face? ‘Hello darkness, my old friend.’ Thanks, bro," Hardy said.
Though it's a brief exchange, Hardy and Ahmed's conversation about things ultimately left on the cutting-room floor for Venom brings up an interesting and ongoing discussion about the film's eventual PG-13 rating. Many fans hoped, and even assumed, that this film would carry an R rating, like Logan and Deadpool before it, in keeping with the dark, violent nature of the character. Even after the PG-13 rating was handed down, director Ruben Fleischer hinted that an unrated cut of the flick would eventually be available to home viewers. That, plus Hardy's remarks last week, all lends itself to the public perception — bolstered by things like the persistent "Snyder Cut" rumors surrounding Justice League — that the studio went for PG-13 because it wanted to make more money, while the filmmakers may have pushed for R and been met with resistance. According to producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, though, this is simply not the case.
"There isn't some phantom version of the movie," Tolmach told ComicBook.com. "Everyone is asking us that. Is there an R-rated cut sitting there? There isn't. We came into this production and the development of the movie wanting to make a movie that was true to Venom, true to the comics, and true to the character, but at the same time is a movie that 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds can see. We had to push right up against it. We're 15+ in England. It's not like we just wanted to make a family film. We wanted to push it as hard as we could, but also to make it accessible. That was always the goal."
Whether a "phantom version" of Venom exists or not, there was at one point a world in which Hardy's apparent favorite scenes could have made it into the final film and didn't. Whether that's just Hardy's preferences showing through or a hint of something more complex behind the scenes is something we don't know yet, but it will be very interesting indeed to hear more about this after the world has seen the film.
Venom is in theaters Friday.