Tom Hardy is swinging back into the world of comic adaptations with the starring role in Sony's Venom movie.
The upcoming spinoff of Spider-Man's comic universe will pair the actor with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, according to multiple media outlets.
Hardy has previous comic book experience playing the Batman villain Bane—a hulking beast powered, coincidentally, with a drug called Venom—in director Christopher Nolan and DC Entertainment's The Dark Knight Rises.
The Academy Award nominee was also briefly lined up to play DC anti-hero Rick Flagg in last summer's blockbuster Suicide Squad, but scheduling issues led to him dropping out before filming.
The Venom movie and a Black Cat/Silver Sable team-up will be launching a new shared universe for the Spider-Man family of heroes and villains, although it's not clear if Spidey will actually appear in either of them.
Sony currently has a deal with Marvel Studios for Tom Holland's version of Spider-Man to feature in his upcoming solo movie Homecoming and its sequel, as well as the next two Avengers movies. As it stands, Marvel is not involved in Sony's spinoffs.
"We had a very particular plan about Spidey himself," Marvel Studios creative director Kevin Feige recently confirmed.
This role as Venom will presumably require Tom Hardy to bulk up even beyond Bane levels of buffness, despite the fact that he's previously complained that frequent physical transformations for past roles have "damaged his body".
"I'm only little," he recently joked. "If I keep putting on weight I'll collapse like a house of cards under too much pressure."
Early word is that he'll play Eddie Brock, the most famous incarnation of the half-human, half-alien villain. In the pages of Marvel Comics, Brock was a journalist who developed a grudge against Spidey for foiling his career-making theory about a serial killer.
Brock's hatred drew Spider-Man's own former alien symbiote to him, transforming him into a virtual rage-monster obsessed with killing the web-slinger. At first a villain, Venom would later transition into an anti-hero and even joined forces with Spidey from time to time.
The character was somewhat notoriously played by Topher Grace in the much-maligned Spider-Man 3 and has also been voiced in animation by the likes of Danny Trejo, Hank Azaria and Dee Bradley Baker over the years.
Venom will begin filming this autumn in order to meet an October 5, 2018 release date.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.