Exclusive: Woody Harrelson explains how, in his desire to make Carnage more interesting in Venom 2, he found extra layers for his character.
Woody Harrelson explains how Shriek improves Carnage’s character in the newly-released Venom: Let There Be Carnage. After delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic pushed it back from last year, Venom 2 has finally arrived in appropriately bombastic fashion. Tom Hardy has returned to play disgruntled journalist Eddie Brock and voice the bloodthirsty symbiote that lives within him, the titular Venom. Let There Be Carnage picks up with the two of them learning to co-exist within the same body, a conflict that leads to more than a few major disagreements between them.
However, they must put aside their differences when another, far more dangerous symbiote emerges. The red-skinned Carnage is born after serial killer Cletus Kasady (Harrelson) ingests some of Eddie’s blood, and while Eddie and Venom struggle to compromise on many things, Cletus and Carnage appear to be a perfect match thanks to their murderous desires. Venom: Let There Be Carnage offers some deeper insight into Cletus’ characterization, and as Harrelson pointed out in an interview, there are some elements that are intended to endear him to audiences.
Screen Rant received the opportunity to speak to Harrelson about all things Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and he shared some insight into how he approached playing Cletus for the movie. Harrelson previously slipped into the role for the post-credits scene of 2018’s Venom, and as he wasn’t thrilled with his performance there, he sought to do better for the sequel. That involved finding additional pieces to make Cletus more interesting, like his relationship with Shriek (Naomie Harris). Harrelson said:
Oh, thank you. That’s very nice. I don’t know. I just wanted to… I felt like with that first thing, even though it was only one scene, I certainly felt at the end of it, I could’ve done a much better job. So I just wanted to try to make the character more interesting. And they have some things in spite of being a serial killer that endeared you to Cletus Kasady, not the least of which was his love for Shriek. But yeah, those are some of the things.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage‘s opening moments reveal Cletus and Shriek (aka Francis Barrison) met at an institution for unwanted children; both saw the other as their only light in a world of darkness, and when they were separated, both were devastated. Venom: Let There Be Carnage arguably has a good number of romantic entanglements at play, but it’s Cletus and Shriek who are definitely the two best suited for each other. That isn’t necessarily a good thing, considering their wicked natures, but as Harrelson pointed out, the love story does add an additional layer to Carnage’s villainy.
Though he might’ve been uncertain about his performance at first, Harrelson’s Carnage has been singled out as one of the most thrilling parts of Venom 2. He also supplied the voice for the symbiote, though he initially wanted director Andy Serkis to step in. Just based on the name alone, fans expected a lot of destruction to come from Carnage’s arrival, and it’s safe to say the movie brought that and then some. Between him and Shriek, Venom: Let There Be Carnage really lived up to its title.
More: Venom 2’s Ending & Spider-Man Universe Future Setup Explained
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