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Hardy prepped for the movie for more than a year. He undergoes a rigorous process to shape each performance, complete with its own argot. A script is a “case file,” to be “unpacked” via “investigation.” He often begins by using personalities, both real and fictive, as lodestars toward which he guides his portrayal. The voice he developed for Al Capone in Fonzo is based on Bugs Bunny’s; to prove it, he plays me a clip of the raw footage on his phone. Sure enough, he sounds like the cartoon rabbit with a severe case of vocal fry. In Venom, the dual roles of Eddie Brock and Venom reminded him of three wildly different traits of three wildly different people: “Woody Allen’s tortured neurosis and all the humor that can come from that. Conor McGregor—the überviolence but not all the talking. And Redman”—the rapper—“out of control, living rent-free in his head.” Those are not details he revealed to the execs at Sony, which is producing the movie. “You don’t say shit like that to the studio,” he says.

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