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‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Cinematographer Robert Richardson Is Shooting Andy Serkis’ ‘Venom 2’

It will be Richardson's first-ever superhero movie and his second time working on a Serkis-directed movie.

"Venom"

“Venom”

Sony Pictures

Cinematographer Robert Richardson, best known for his Oscar-winning work with Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone, has signed on to shoot “Venom 2,” marking the first time he’ll photograph a superhero movie. He most recently filmed “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” directed by frequent collaborator Quentin Tarantino.

Sony announced earlier this month that it had hired motion-capture master Andy Serkis to direct the follow-up to the critically panned box office smash “Venom.” The films’ eponymous character was first introduced as one of Spider-Man’s enemies. Tom Hardy is reprising his lead role as journalist Eddie Brock, whose body becomes host to an alien parasite that endows him with superhuman abilities.

Richardson’s agent, Devin Mann of Iconic Talent, confirmed to IndieWire the veteran cinematographer had signed on to “Venom 2.” Richardson and Serkis previously worked together on Serkis’ directorial debut, the 2017 biographical drama “Breathe.” 

Richardson’s work spans nearly four decades and across a variety of genres: He earned his first Oscar nomination for photographing Stone’s 1987 Vietnam War drama “Platoon,” and won for the first time with Stone’s 1991 political thriller “JFK.”

He won his two other Oscars for Scorsese collaborations “The Aviator,” the 2004 Howard Hughes biopic, and “Hugo,” the 2011 3D movie about an orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris train station.

Though Richardson has never done a superhero movie, he’s recently expressed interest in adding his visual perspective to the genre. The cinematographer was going to shoot “The Batman” back when Ben Affleck was set to direct, but he was among the moving pieces that left the project, now helmed by Matt Reeves with Greig Fraser as DP and set for a 2021 release

“Venom” grossed $856 million at the global box office on a $100 million budget. While the movie was a financial success and loved by audiences, it was a critical flop, and IndieWire’s own Michael Nordine wrote that the film is “as much a body-horror thriller as it is a comic-book movie, … akin to a buddy comedy in which one of the buddies has to prevent the other from wantonly biting people’s heads off. If that sounds ridiculous, it is.”

Some possible reasons? Creative differences between Hardy and director Ruben Fleischer (Hardy wanted funny, Fleischer wanted serious), down-to-the-wire editing, and fan backlash, Deadline reported.

Serkis seems amenable to Hardy’s creative vision for the sequel. “Venom” scribe Kelly Marcel is writing the sequel and is working with Hardy on the script. “So it’s very much centered around their take,” Serkis said, Gamespot reported.

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