If you’ve been a film fan, particularly in the realm of superhero films, since the early-2000s, you have probably heard the name Avi Arad. The veteran producer could be looked at as the godfather of the modern superhero renaissance. He transitioned from the CEO of ToyBiz to the chief creative officer at Marvel and finally CEO and founder of Marvel Studios. Arad is responsible for just about every Marvel film up until Marvel was purchased by Disney, and even still, is one of the main people behind Sony’s “Spider-Man” films. And as a veteran of this superhero game, Arad is not afraid to speak his mind.
In an interview with Collider, Arad talks about the future of the Spider-Man spin-off universe after the apparent box office success of “Venom,” starring Tom Hardy, and where Sony goes next.
READ MORE: ‘Venom’ Defeats Poisonous Reviews, Breaks Records ‘A Star Is Born’ Shines [Box Office]
First, the next film on the docket for Sony is “Morbius the Living Vampire,” which is slated to star Jared Leto as the titular bloodsucker. Outside of the star, we know that ‘Morbius’ will be directed by Daniel Espinosa and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Arad also lets fans know that the film should begin filming in February.
But really, the meat of the interview is about Jared Leto taking the role, how Arad likens him to Hardy, and if ‘Morbius,’ or other Spider-Verse films, will flirt with an R-rating. Arad, being his normal, charismatic talker, answers these questions with the enthusiasm and honesty that truly amazes.
“Oh yeah. This is the great thing for us now, that an actor like [Leto], and an actor like Tom [Hardy] wanted to have their own character. But the character they love. Both of them, very hard to get them to do a movie. You actually cannot get them. We went in, we sat with them, and everybody told us, ‘Oh, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba.’ Nothing. That’s what he wanted to do…We went to this place with them, and he just…good actors want to be different than what they are,” Arad says about Leto leading the film.
READ MORE: ‘Venom’: Tom Hardy’s Parasite Antihero Film Is Laughable & Septic [Review]
When asked if ‘Morbius’ would be R-rated, Arad says that “it depends on the story. If the success of the story depends on being R-rated.”
He continues, “Then, of course, we can do it. But at least for me, I have grandkids, kids, whatever, all these things, and some of these movies, they’re dying to see. You know? As I took my grandson, seven, to the recording session of ‘Venom.’ And he had the time of his life.”
Wonder if that was the scene where Venom calls Eddie a “pussy” for not jumping out of the window? Or the multiple times Venom rips people apart and bites off heads? I’m not saying that “Venom” is some NC-17 gore-fest, but not sure it’s wholly appropriate for a 7-year old. But hey, parental discretion and all.
Going further, Arad explains why they didn’t feel an R-rating was necessary for “Venom” (and presumably the other spin-offs in development), “On language alone, which is obscene. There’s no parent out there, that doesn’t look at their kid, ‘Shut the fuck up.’ So, it’s not like it’s going to be a shocking situation for them, but if we can make it more accessible because people love the Marvel characters.”
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We’re guessing he means that there’s no point in making a film rated R just for language. However, the situation he describes where literally every parent turns to their kids and tells them to “Shut the fuck up” is a bit far-fetched, right? But I digress. Nevertheless, Sony was able to get a fair amount of S-bombs and one F-bomb in “Venom,” so language definitely wouldn’t hold them back in a PG-13 situation, either.
There’s no release date for “Morbius,” although it’s a safe assumption that it will drop sometime in the first half of 2020. And, personally, I can’t wait. Because even if the film is garbage (a la “Venom”) at least we’ll get more gold from Avi Arad.