Even though we’re distracted by the Cannes Film Festival, the latest news on Sony‘s “Venom” is still knocking us back on our heels a bit, as a creative team comes together for the first film of what the studio hopes will be yet another cinematic universe.

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Tom Hardy is signed up to lead “Venom,” with Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland,” “Gangster Squad“) directing. The move is genuinely surprising, given that Hardy tends to be somewhat picky with directors and material. Fleischer continues to fail upwards, having directed two flops in a row — “30 Minutes Or Less” and “Gangster Squad” — and has spent the last four years firmly doing television (“Santa Clarita Diet,” “Superstore“). That being said, Hardy loves nothing more than disappearing into a character, and this certainly presents a chance to take ownership of what will be the central figure in a new franchise. Moreover, he’s reportedly a big fan of the character. Of course, Hardy has done the supervillain thing before as Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises,” but that was under the guidance of a far superior filmmaker, Christopher Nolan.

Scott Rosenberg (“Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle”) and Jeff Pinkner (“The Dark Tower”) are writing the script for “Venom,” which is rumored to be R-rated, and things will surely get rolling soon, as Sony has already slated the picture to hit cinemas on October 5, 2018. [Variety]