Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed on their new comic book movie, Venom PLUS TRAILER
It's been a big year for comic book movies, and the latest action-packed epic Venom sees one of Marvel's most complex characters take centre stage. Georgia Humphreys finds out more from stars Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed.
Tom Hardy's son must think he has a pretty cool dad.
After all, the 41-year-old is the latest actor to play a superhero - and no ordinary superhero either.
Londoner Hardy takes on the role of Eddie Brock, who becomes the host for an alien symbiote Venom, in the film of the same name.
And he says one appeal of the character was the fact that his 10-year-old, Louis, would be able to watch him on screen.
"My son was telling me all about him - he loves Venom.
"He's is a great character to play because Venom is ruthless and, basically, there are no rules. He's so complex."
So, has Louis (whose mum is Hardy's ex, Rachael Speed) seen clips of his dad as the terrifying-looking Venom yet?
"He's seen all of it actually, before it got its rating," says the Peaky Blinders star, before adding with a gentle chuckle: "So that was, in hindsight, probably a bit neglectful."
The human side of Hardy's character is a journalist who has become obsessed with taking down the notorious founder of the Life Foundation, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), ruining both his career and his relationship with his girlfriend, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams).
It's while investigating one of Drake's experiments that the alien Venom merges with Eddie's body, and he suddenly has incredible new superpowers, along with the opportunity to do whatever he wants.
And, as he becomes twisted, dark and unpredictable, where Eddie ends and Venom begins becomes blurred.
On why the character was right for him, Hardy elaborates: "When I read it, it was literally personification, in a comic book movie, of Jekyll and Hyde and a split personality, and a manifest into a creature, in an entity. I wanted to play both. Greed, ultimately."
Wembley-born Ahmed, 35 - known for films such as Rogue One, Nightcrawler and Four Lions - liked how similar his character's situation is to the one we're living in right now.
"Carlton Drake in the comic books was someone who was around during the Cold War and he thought once nuclear war happens only the rich people are going to be able to survive," he explains.
"In our modern, updated version of him, is someone who knows that the world is going to collapse because of environmental disaster, and he's trying to find a new home, a new home planet for humanity. So it's a nice mix of grounded reality, and also a far-fetched fantasy."
Hardy readily admits "there's a saturation at the moment in the marketplace ... we're definitely superhero movie-heavy when you go to see big movies nowadays".
"What was nice about Venom," he continues, "is it straddles the fence between what the concept of good and bad is and presents a flawed human being host to a flawed superhero entity that attaches to them.
"And then the technical villain of the piece is also a flawed human being who cares about doing the right thing, but how they're doing it is questionable.
"The questionable ethics is the variant of the progression of the theme in the genre. So it's definitely fresh for that, and that's what's exciting."
He adds candidly: "I'm flawed, you're flawed possibly - I think we are all fundamentally flawed to some degree. And it's about revelling in that, and embracing that, and identifying that and pushing that to a super limit."
Both actors have had some really intense roles.
Ahmed has previously revealed he came close to a "physical and mental" breakdown thanks to his gruelling preparation for HBO show The Night Of, in which he played a Pakistani-American student who is incarcerated after becoming the prime suspect in a murder investigation.
Hardy, meanwhile, has thrown himself into his portrayals of dark characters: Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, both of the notorious Kray twins in Legend, and not forgetting his villainous turn in The Revenant, which earned him an Oscar nomination.
But with Venom, the pair actually found it quite easy to switch off after a day of filming.
"This one didn't really dig into my psyche in that aspect, it was much more fun to play," notes Hardy, who's married to actress Charlotte Riley (they also have a child together). "It's a really good sandbox, a playground to have fun with."
"I think every role's different," follows Ahmed. "For this, it was more about just getting into the world that they'd created and having fun with it and trying to nail it with the fans."
Explaining why he could step back from it, he adds: "Sometimes, the world that your character is in is so fantastical it's easier to separate from real life. It's harder to separate it when you're playing characters that are much closer to reality and much closer to yourself."
One thing Hardy was very much aware of with this role was the expectations of dedicated Marvel fans.
"Of course, I feel that pressure because you want people to enjoy it, and especially with something like Venom, there's a much-beloved character," he confides sincerely.
"But at the same time I have to be real and say, 'I'm here to do a job and my job specific is to serve this company, this script, this character, and this is my breach and entry point of it and what can I do with it'.
"Or I stand and push it as far as I possibly can with consideration to all opinions and options, but, ultimately, I have to go it alone and make some decisions which I'm responsible for."
Venom is in cinemas now