By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 6, 2012 at 8:33PM
After the modest success of the low-budgeted "Chronicle," 27-year-old director Josh Trank seems to have been labeled a superhero guy by Hollywood. Even though the superpowered leads of his surprisingly effective found-footage flick never donned a cape, Trank was picked out by Fox (who bankrolled "Chronicle") as the man they wanted to direct their reboot of the "Fantastic Four" franchise. The young helmer's been non-commital about the project, though, and it seems like another film may have grabbed his attention, albeit one still firmly in the comic book world.
24 Frames report that Trank is in fact in talks with Sony to take the reins of "Venom," a long-in-the-works project that focuses on the titular evil, alien-suited nemesis of "Spider-Man," a character portrayed by Topher Grace in the poorly-received "Spider-Man 3." Ideas of a spin-off starring the fan favorite character (traditionally the product of the blend of the black symbiote that turned Spidey to the dark side with Peter Parker's rival Eddie Brock) have been circulating for a decade, and the project came closest back in 2009, when "Seabiscuit" writer-director Gary Ross was attached to a script penned by Jacob Estes ("The Details"), which reinvented the character as an anti-hero.
But the reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise, and Ross moving onto "The Hunger Games," killed that incarnation, and now Sony is keen to start again, with Trank at the helm, should he sign on, and a new writer being sought. And if Topher Grace is patiently waiting by the phone? He shouldn't, as he'll be recast.
There's a number of questions raised by this news. Will the new incarnation of Venom figure into the "Amazing Spider-Man" franchise, either preceding or spinning-off the sequel that's set for release on May 2, 2014? Will it be an entirely separate beast? Is this, in fact, an attempt to hold on to the rights, a la "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance?"
It's clear from "Chronicle" that Trank is extremely talented, and he has the right approach, telling us last month that "Right now I’m trying to work on original ideas. To me the most important thing is a good story, though I know how cliché that sounds. Finding my next project, whether it’s a big franchise idea, or a small idea, it’s all about strong characters and a good story, making something I would really want to see." As such, we've got more faith in such a film than if Music Video Director Of The Month #38 was attached. But only time will tell if this is a real proposition, or just the latest turn in the long trip to the screen for "Venom."