Photo: Chris Jackson (Getty Images)

Topher Grace recently stopped just shy of admitting that Tom Hardy’s Venom from Venom will be better than his Venom from Spider-Man 3, but maybe the secret to Hardy’s apparent success is the eclectic influences he kept in mind while coming up with his take on the goopy, brain-eating, Marvel villain. In a profile from Esquire, Hardy says that the duality of journalist Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote that he’s bonded with reminded him of Woody Allen, Conor McGregor, and Redman.

Specifically, he says Venom/Eddie reminds him of Allen’s “tortured neurosis and all the humor that can come from that,” McGregor’s “überviolence but not all the talking,” and the way Redman is “out of control, living rent-free in his head.” He also notes that “you don’t say shit like that to the studio,” meaning he didn’t specifically tell Sony he wanted to play Venom as a mixture of an alleged sexual abuser, a racist boxer, and… a famous rapper who was on a really good episode of Cribs once. Redman is definitely an outlier in this trio.

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The fact that Woody Allen and Conor McGregor might not be great guys may not bother Hardy, though, as he tells Esquire—after briefly dipping into third-person—that “Tom is very mercenary when it comes to work” and that he “cannot give a fuck” what “the writer, or the director, or Larry in Baltimore” think about the choices he makes. (Take that, Larry.) In a fun twist, though, the Esquire piece gradually establishes that this is absolutely not the case, and Hardy definitely does care what people think about him—particularly the people he cares about, like his friends and family, but also a waiter who tells Hardy that he’s one of this three favorite action actors (Hardy seems disappointed when he hears that the others are Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon).