Now that Venom is out in the world, Sony’s own Spider-Man-centric cinematic universe is, you might say, in full swing. But there are lots and lots of Sony’s Marvel characters who are destined for the big screen in the coming years, some of whom may have been teased in Venom, and some that may be yet to be introduced to movie-going audiences. One such project is Morbius, a feature film take on Marvel’s living vampire that has Jared Leto set to star in the title role, and it’s that picture that’s up next in Sony’s production pipeline.
In a chat with Sony producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, our own Steve Weintraub chatted about all sorts of Spider-things, but inevitably the timing of the production for Morbius arose. Arad and Tolmach confirmed that it was next up for Sony, that Leto is very much on board for bringing a strong take to the character, and revealed just where they are in the scripting process. Director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) is at the helm for this one, and though Morbius is currently in pre-production, the cameras might start rolling sooner than you think. Here’s what the producers had to say:
Collider: There’s a lot of stuff going on in the Spider-Man universe that Sony is hoping to bring to life. I’m curious where you’re at with some of these other projects, and what do you think might be the next one?
AVI ARAD: Well, we know the next one.
MATT TOLMACH: Morbius is the next one.
So Jared Leto is definitely doing it?
TOLMACH: Yes, sir.
ARAD: Oh yeah. This is the great thing for us now, that an actor like him, and an actor like Tom wanted to have their own character. But the character they love. Both of them, very hard to get them to do a movie. You actually cannot get them. We went in, we sat with them, and everybody told us, “Oh, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba.” Nothing. That’s what he wanted to do.
ALMACH: Tom, you mean.
ARAD: Tom. And Jared, too. We went to this place with them, and he just…good actors want to be different than what they are.
Do you know when you start filming?
ARAD: More or less, February?
TOLMACH: Yeah, the plan is early part of next year. We’re still working on it.
Who wrote the most recent draft?
TOLMACH: Well, [Burk] Sharpless and [Matt] Sazama are the guys who wrote the script. They wrote the script.
The interesting thing about Morbius is that’s another character that can go a whole bunch of different ways. Do you envision all of these Spider-Man spinoffs being PG 13? Do you think there’s any character, or any part of the universe that could go to an R-rated release?
ARAD: Again, what I said to you before, it depends on the story. If the success of the story depends on being R-rated…
TOLMACH: Then it could be, yeah.
ARAD: Then, of course, we can do it. But at least for me, I have grandkids, kids, whatever, all these things, and some of these movies, they’re dying to see. You know? As I took my grandson, seven, to the recording session of Venom. And he had the time of his life.
TOLMACH: I don’t think there’s a rule written somewhere in stone that all of them have to be one thing, alright? I think what Avi’s saying is right. I think we’ve all talked about, “Well, if one of these presents itself in a way…” Look, we have all seen, as you’ve said, the R-rated versions of these movies now working. So, that’s out there. You can succeed to a staggering degree.
ARAD: We couldn’t have done Suicide Squad PG-13. Just language, or Deadpool, just language. On language alone, which is obscene. There’s no parent out there, that doesn’t look at their kid, “Shut the fuck up.” So, it’s not like it’s going to be a shocking situation for them, but if we can make it more accessible because people love the Marvel characters.
TOLMACH: Without compromising the character.
ARAD: We didn’t compromise anywhere. You saw the movies. There is no compromise. That was Venom.
I’m representing all the of the fans out there…because there’s a lot of people who are older, and you’re trying to hit both audiences with PG-13.
TOLMACH: Then I think it’s absolutely possible. For sure.
ARAD: You know what? When you hear Venom…forget Venom. When you hear, Carnage, the only thing you can think of is R. But, if you know his story, if you really know the comic, there’s no R here. He’s a tortured soul. It’s not about what he does, because we never have to show the knife going from here to there, and the blood is pouring. What you have to show is, what is the motivation? Was he born like that, or it’s someone we should feel for, because if you are succeeding to make a villain someone you can feel for, jackpot.