Is Riz Ahmed Crazy Enough to Play Carnage in the Venom Movie?

Riz Ahmed on the red carpet at the Oscars surrounded by cameras

Riz Ahmed | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Despite the recent team-up between the MCU and Sony, Spider-Man: Homecoming, the two studios are keeping their assets relatively separate. In fact, Sony is working on developing its own movie universe, beginning with a film about Venom (played by Tom Hardy).

Though the film has a director, writers, and a premiere date, little else is known about it. But there’s new gossip: Allegedly, actor Riz Ahmed is in talks to portray a “popular Marvel Comics character.”

This casting probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone in the industry. Ahmed has recently scored two Emmy nominations, so he’s definitely having a moment. His first nomination is for his lead role in HBO miniseries, The Night Of. He received another one for his two-episode guest arc on Girls.

The London-born Pakistani actor made his first film appearance just over 10 years ago, but has acted steadily since. Ahmed has racked up credits for major movies, such as Nightcrawler, Jason Bourne, and Rogue One. Additionally, Ahmed is a rapper, with a focus on political satire.

So who will Ahmed play opposite Hardy? Right now, speculation points to Carnage, the character who originated as Cletus Kasady. The supervillain and Venom have a lot in common. Both characters are symbiotes and enemies of Spider-Man.

As the comics tell it, Kasady was an awful person even before Carnage began to use him as a host. Growing up, he suffered abuse by his family and eventually became a serial killer. He meets Eddie Brock (Venom) in prison. This is where the Carnage symbiote enters his bloodstream.

A number of actors have already expressed interest in portraying the bad guy. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wants to throw his hat in the ring, as does Cameron Monaghan, who currently portrays the Joker on Gotham.

Can Ahmed play such a deeply disturbed character? He definitely seems capable. As he told the Los Angeles Times:

I’m interested in novelty and adventure in my work — and in all aspects of my life — so setting myself new challenges and finding roles where I feel uncertain about how to approach it or whether I can do it excites me. Sometimes that involves doing a diverse range of very different roles, and sometimes it involves going deeper into a certain archetype you may have played before. If I feel like I’m not failing and questioning whether I can do something, then I can’t grow.

Venom, directed by Ruben Fleischer, is expected to hit U.S. theaters on October 5, 2018.