Movie Reviews

Why ‘Venom 2’ Gave Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady a New Look

With the release of the Venom: Let there Be Carnage trailer, fans are finally getting their first look at the highly anticipated arrival of the evil symbiote Carnage. The villain shares a host body with Cletus Kasady, a sociopathic serial killer played by Woody Harrelson. Kasady was first teased in the end credits scene in the original Venom movie. This time around, Harrelson’s character no longer has wild, curly red hair, but appears with a much more dapper haircut, and not encased in a straitjacket. According to Andy Serkis, the director of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Kasady has been through some dark changes since the original movie, hence his new look.

“We wanted to give a sense that he’s been in there for some time and that he’s gone through various changes. … so that we could really [see] what’s going on with the darkness of the character.”

RELATED: First Venom 2 Footage Teases the Arrival of Fan-Favorite Marvel Symbiote Toxin

In Marvel Comics, Venom started out as a brutal and gory villain. After the character’s popularity exploded, it was decided to turn him into an anti-hero. To that end, Carnage was designed to be much, much worse as a villain, just to make Venom look good in comparison. As a result, Carnage basically became a version of The Joker with god-like powers. According to Serkis, Cletus feels a special kinship to Tom Hardy’s lead character, the struggling journalist Eddie Brock, and not just because they both play host to powerful alien symbiotes.

“They both had strange upbringings with strange relationships with their parents and their families. And there’s an inherent loneliness that they both recognize in each other. Cletus actually reaches out and will only speak to Eddie Brock. That’s at the beginning of the story, we learned that he’s the only one he’ll speak to. And the cops, therefore, want Eddie to go in and investigate and try and discover where some of the bodies, some of the many bodies of Cletus’s victims are.”

In the comics, Carnage is actually one of Venom’s many offsprings. It is unclear whether the movie will go in a similar direction with regards to the relationship between Venom and Carnage. What Serkis did reveal is that Eddie Brock has a personal reason for playing up his supposed “connection” to Kasady, since that gives him an “in” with the famed serial killer that could lead to a big news scoop.

“He’s on a mission. But also, he’s self-serving in only the way that Eddie can be. He wants to get in there and maybe he can make a story, get back to what he wants to do most, which is writing and the written word and being a journalist. So this sets up really the confrontation, or the false relationship, that Eddie sort of pretends to have with Cletus, in order to get information out of it.”

Directed by Andy Serkis, Venom: Let There Be Carnage stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom, Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady/Carnage, Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, Reid Scott as Dr. Dan Lewis, Naomie Harris, Stephen Graham, Sean Delaney, and Larry Olubamiwo. The film arrives in theaters on September 17. This story originated at IGN.

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