Topher Grace as VenomGary Ross, who wrote and directed the mainstream hit 'Seabiscuit' (2003) and recently wrote the screenplay for the remake of 'The Creature From the Black Lagoon,' has forged close bonds with Marvel Entertainment. Ross, who is rewriting 'Spider-Man 4' for Sony's Columbia Pictures, also has made a deal to rewrite and possibly direct 'Venom,' a 'Spider-Man' spin-off based on the villain that so challenged Spidey in the last go-round. Topher Grace as VenomGary Ross, who wrote and directed the mainstream hit 'Seabiscuit' (2003) and recently wrote the screenplay for the remake of 'The Creature From the Black Lagoon,' has forged close bonds with Marvel Entertainment. Ross, who is rewriting 'Spider-Man 4' for Sony's Columbia Pictures, also has made a deal to rewrite and possibly direct 'Venom,' a 'Spider-Man' spin-off based on the villain that so challenged Spidey in the last go-round.

Venom is born when a gooey, almost liquid-like alien life form called a "symbiote" attaches itself to humans, giving its host malicious superpowers; the creature has become one of the more popular Spider-Man archenemies in the Marvel Comics arsenal. In "Spider-Man 3," you'll recall, the alien goo first attaches itself to Peter Parker and then to Parker's newsroom rival Eddie Brock.

Topher Grace, who has moved on to star in Robert Rodriguez's 'Predators' at Fox, played Venom/Brock and is not expected to reprise the role in a spin-off. And since Brock was seemingly killed off in 'Spider-Man 3,' a spin-off will most likely reboot the Venom storyline back to its origins with a new star.

So who would be ideal to play the parasitic creature? We have to rule out sweet but tough Ryan Reynolds, who's now graduated from wooing Sandra Bullock to playing the Green Lantern and Deadpool in two other comics-based properties. But two other Ryans, Ryan Gosling (of 'Young Hercules' fame) and Ryan Phillipe, are likely candidates. Chris "Captain Kirk" Pine has enough of an evil side to take on the role, as does 'Fast & Furious' Paul Walker. And we'd love to see Zac Efron transformed into a monster.

Can't decide? Memo to Columbia: Since Venom bonds himself to many hosts, why not cast three or four hot male stars in the film? That's one way to ensure a wide demographic opening day: Fanboys would actually be able to take their girlfriends to see this one.
CATEGORIES Movies