Spider-Man Spin-off Venom May Actually Happen

With Sony’s spider senses tingling over the brouhaha that’s currently going on around “Spider-Man 4″ (will Tobey Maguire return? will Sam Raimi stop acting like a prima donna and decide if he wants to come back or not already? does anyone care what Kirsten Dunst thinks at all?), they’re moving on with plans to do a “Spider-Man” spin-off that focuses on the villain Venom. Topher Grace originally played the character in the last Spidey installment, but the studio is looking to replace him with a more bankable actor. They’re already sending out word that they’re looking for new scripts.

THR has more on Sony’s quest to squeeze blood from a stone that is the Spidey franchise:

The studio is developing the project, based on the gooey nemesis who appeared in “Spider-Man 3″ and is hoping the character could serve as an antidote to the aging “Spider-Man” franchise in the way that Fox has used Wolverine to add longevity to its “X-Men” franchise.

But getting any spinoff off the ground, let alone one centered on a villain, can be tricky.

The studio had commissioned a draft of the script from Jacob Estes, a writer of the specialty film “Mean Creek,” released several years ago by Paramount Classics. He’s also attached to the Plan B drama “The Gifted.”

But the studio is considering going in a different direction from Estes’ script and is seeking writers for a new draft.

Casting also is no simple matter. Topher Grace played the character in the film, but agents have been eyeing the role for their clients, as Sony is not yet convinced the actor can carry a tentpole picture.

As I recall, the Venom character never really had that much personality in the comic books. He was always this roid rage alien guy who had a hard-on for Spidey, and did everything he could to get our favorite wall crawler. In recent years, they’ve made Venom a good guy, an anti-hero, and all that other junk that comic book characters go through in order to prolong their lifespan.

And why not Topher Grace as Venom? He was actually pretty good in the role in my humblest of opinions. And who thought Maguire could carry a picture before “Spider-Man”?

Topher Grace as Venom in Spider-Man 3