While Sony’s upcoming Venom movie hasn’t been left wanting for top-tier villains – hell, one could even argue that the titular character is a villain in his own right – Carlton Drake has emerged as the film’s true big bad.
Brought to life by Riz Ahmed, we know Drake as the billionaire genius behind the super-secret Life Foundation, a fictional organization which piques the curiosity of down-on-his-luck reporter, Eddie Brock. And that’s where Venom really kicks off.
Truth be told, there are those who believe Ahmed’s character is actually a red herring, and that he’ll be playing Cletus Kasady (AKA Carnage) come October. Nevertheless, when the actor was quizzed about what makes Carlton Drake tick, Ahmed was pretty forthcoming, and outlined his character’s dream of accelerating human evolution.
Well my character is a billionaire industrialist, he’s an inventor, he’s a bit of a genius, and he’s really interested in trying to find a future for humanity as we face ecological collapse and war. For him, the solution lies in colonizing other planets. So it’s actually a kind of search for another suitable habitat for humanity, that leads him to the Symbiotes.
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It’s this endeavor that leads him to the symbiotes (sim-BEE-ote) – goopy alien parasites with the power to utterly consume their hosts, thereby creating a third, entirely new entity. Such is the case with Eddie Brock, who encounters a particularly nasty symbiote, only to transform into Venom.
And Riz Ahmed? He’s not 100 percent convinced he’s playing a villain:
No one thinks that they are the bad guy, that’s the reality. People do crazy things, terrible things, but in their mind they justify it. They think that they’re helping the world, helping the other person, helping themselves, they justify it in their own ways. So, for me, when I’m playing a character like Carlton Drake, I’m sure you’ll think I’m crazy but I totally understand what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.
He’s trying to serve humanity and he just thinks that he’s best placed to do that and he wants to find a future for the human race. And of course, as the most rich, powerful, successful, intelligent member of the human race, he should be at the center of that future as well. So, I think I’m playing the good guy, but that’s sort of what everyone thinks.
As we alluded to before, Venom’s metamorphosis has evoked comparisons to Cronenberg and Carpenter, and we know that director Ruben Fleischer looked to the horror classics of yesteryear when creating his Spider-Man spinoff. So on October 5th, we’ll discover if Venom really is more than the sum of its parts.