I am a devoted comic book movie connoisseur, and I have come to the conclusion that it is time for Marvel Studios/Sony to make a Maximum Carnage movie. Watching Far From Home with my daughter and reading my Carnage Classic graphic novel has inspired a three-part article series detailing what my ideal movie-based-on-a-bloated-comic-book-crossover-from-the-90s would be like.
In Part 1, I explained why there should be a Maximum Carnage film. Now, let’s brainstorm and come up with some new actors to play Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady, or Venom and Carnage, respectively.
I have chosen four actors for each character, two “serious” choices, one from my current obsession and a rapper (because I enjoy when rappers have parts in films). They make things interesting and change up the flavor a bit. Busta Rhymes and Coolio are two of my favorite Halloween characters. Only Busta had the nerve to drop the f-bomb on Michael Myers.
Rappers should act more, Hollywood needs a lyrical injection straight up the chute if you will.
Also, before I get on with the list, I want to make it clear that while Topher Grace was an abysmal Venom in Spider-Man 3. I get why he took the part. I wouldn’t play a great Venom, but if someone offered it to me I’d say yes, it’d be a great opportunity. We really can’t fault him for living out the dream of many a nerd, now can we?
I blame the casting director.
The Maximum Carnage movie should have a Topher Grace cameo in it, not one that pays respect to that awful movie I’ve only seen once, but a Ryan Reynolds Deadpool 2-style cameo where he pokes fun at himself and how terrible that film was. That would be the perfect scene of redemption and a great laugh for all.
Oh, and I adore Woody Harrelson as an actor, but I just CANNOT see him as Carnage, I’m sorry. I know he can play a great unhinged psycho, but I feel like a crime boss role would suit him better. He just isn’t active enough, in my opinion, to play a convincing Cletus in a world where he would have to flip, jump and swing. There’s gonna be enough CGI in his costume as it is, anyway…
Now, onto the casting call. Here are the four actors I think would make a great Venom:
He’s already wowed audiences as Marvel Comics hero/villain Magneto, so why not give him a shot to play Marvel Comics hero/villain Venom? I mean, that movie franchise is done anyway, since you know Marvel Studios will reboot the mutants and make them ten times more quippy; he needs another steady role.
Fassbender’s Erik Lehsherr knew how to hold a grudge and how to enact vengeance on those who hurt him. I mean come on, who didn’t love seeing “Magneto: Nazi Hunter” strike fear in the hearts of men during the beginning of First Class? He has the chops to pull off Eddie Brock, a man who feels wronged by Spider-Man while simultaneously fighting for justice in a cold world.
Magneto and Venom both abhor killing the innocent and live in their own world of twisted logic, so the transition is a no-brainer.
Like the current X-Men movie franchise, Arrow is coming to an end. For eight seasons, Amell has played a brooding antihero, bent on avenging his father’s death, the mistakes made in the name of Queen, and protecting the city he has lived in. He has also struggled against his inner demons and debated the morality of killing people in the name of saving the day.
Sounds like Eddie Brock to me, a man who hates Spider-Man and feels vindicated in killing him yet simultaneously questions his own ethics while comparing himself to Carnage. Stephen Amell has proven adept in playing a comic book character who finds himself on both sides of the law, constantly evolving as a human being.
I believe that he could bring a sense of depth to the character, instead of just portraying Brock as a meathead nineties stereotype. Though don’t get it twisted, he also has the muscles to play the role. He can do that thing where he jumps up a rack of hooks with a pole thingy, whatever you call that.
Steve “The Hair” Harington?
From Stranger Things?
Yeah, you read the text correctly. I watched Season 3 of Stranger Things and loved every minute of it, so excuse me for wanting to see one of my new favorite actors get some more screen time. Joe has done a fantastic job of turning his prototype 80s bully character into a hilarious scene-stealer in the show.
Whoever plays Venom needs to be dynamic, an actor who can play a role whose code of ethics constantly changes during every conflict. Brock is a tough guy who starts to look out for the little guy more than his chance to gut Peter Parker. Keery’s Steve went from a jock dating hot girls to a babysitter with a bat protecting the kiddies from monsters and Russian spies.
Plus, he is a little closer to Tom Holland’s age than other actors suggested, and I think Spider-Man needs some villains close to his age. Also, the mullet Steve is rocking in Stranger Things is giving me crazy “90s Eddie Brock” vibes, and I would love to bring that feel to the big screen. Think of all the hairstyle jokes to be made in the Maximum Carnage movie…
“It’s 50, aka Ferrari.”
Yeah, I want THAT guy to play Venom.
This pick is quite simple. He is definitely ripped like Eddie Brock was in the comics, so he physically fits the role. He’s acted before, and the guy just cracks me up. He has become quite the social media jokester in the last few years, and I think that humor could fit in well with Marvel Studios. He could give T.I. a run for his money in the next Ant-Man flick for sure.
And let’s be real, Curtis Jackson is SUPER petty. He’s been calling out everyone in the industry who even owes him the slightest amount of money. The rapper never forgets a feud either, as he has been fighting Ja Rule on and off since I was in high school.
I could see Ja Rule playing Carnage to 50’s Venom now. That would be an epic onscreen battle that billions of rap fans would run to the theaters to cheer on. And who wouldn’t want to hear Ja Rule’s Carnage say “It’s MURDERRRRRRRRRRR” after he kills somebody?!
Moving on to the psychopath known as Cletus Kasady. Here are the four actors I think would make a great Carnage (stay out of this, Woody!)
Jackie Earle Haley
This one is so painfully obvious that it hurts. Haley has plenty of experience playing a psychotic red-haired comic book character.
In fact, I’m not even gonna type anything else, just put in your Blu Ray of Watchmen, see Haley play an unhinged Rorshach, agree with me immediately, then tweet Marvel Studios to let them know that he should play Cletus Kasady in a Maximum Carnage movie.
If Haley isn’t available, this is the other no-brainer. Monaghan chewed up the most scenery in Gotham, a show where every character chews up the scenery so for him to stand out is saying something. Gotham is delightfully over the top, an adaptation that has no desire to stick to the source material but instead provides us with crazy scenes like Penguin shooting at Azrael with a bazooka.
I can respect that.
Anyway, an insane crimson-haired lunatic who has experience working in a comic book television show? Duh.
Carnage is a simple character, he doesn’t struggle with morals like Peter Parker or even Eddie Brock, which is why these actors are such obvious choices that don’t require much explaining.
Except for Heaton, the actor who plays Jonathan Byers on Stranger Things.
Hear me out, readers.
This one kind of hinges on Joe Keery getting the role of Venom, too. Keery and Heaton already have an onscreen history together, being rivals for the affections of Nancy Wheeler, played skillfully by Natalia Dyer. They could take that tension up a notch as Venom and Carnage, they’ve both proven they have the acting chops for that.
Heaton did an excellent job playing a creepy weirdo in the first season of Stranger Things. I really think that he could dig deep inside and pull out a more psychotic version of Jonathan Byers, a little creep who killed animals as a kid instead of taking pictures of girls he likes. He could really provide us with a layered rendition of Kasady.
He could give us a version of the serial killer that is more Heath Ledger than Cesar Romero.
Lil Nas X
I still think this is a great idea, but man, the prospect of 50 Cent and Ja Rule being Venom and Carnage duking it out onscreen just excites me the more I think about it. Could you imagine decades of hostility pouring out while the cameras roll and getting to see the CGI battle of the CENTURY?!
This idea really brings out the mid-aughts Shady Records obsessed college kid in me…
But alas, I’m sure egos would prevail and neither of them would agree to the idea, so I’ll have to be content with my original rapper who I think should play Carnage.
This one is definitely a stretch, but I think it could be fun. Lil Nas X being Cletus Kasady would provide a performance that people either love or hate, a controversial casting choice that would provide enough free press for Maximum Carnage to become a huge box office success. Many people forget that Cletus was a redneck, and Lil Nas X has the western rap chops to pull off a character like that.
Plus, the rapper is flamboyant, his taste in outfits and energetic performances would translate into a very enthusiastic serial killer onscreen. This could be the breakout role that lets the “Old Town Road” emcee transcend to the next phase in his breakout career, he could be the next LL Cool J, fighting with sharks in a Deep Blue Sea reboot!
Add in a Billy Ray Cyrus cameo and we have ourselves the zaniest Maximum Carnage movie out there!
Stay tuned for Part 3, in which I list all the characters from the original comic book crossover and whether or not they would fit in this proposed Maximum Carnage movie.
To be continued…
Husband, parent, writer, emcee, cassette tape collector