There is an unusual trend circling Hollywood, with big wrestling stars swapping their heavyweight titles for their name in lights. WWE Superstar Sheamus - a.k.a. Stephen Farrelly is the latest to do so, setting his sights on the Spider-Man universe and one of Peter Parker's biggest foes... the Venom Symbiote!
Farrelly is already no stranger to the big screen, appearing as the CGI Rhino, Rocksteady, in Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Later this year we will also see a cartoon version of him in the ludicrously titled Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon. So, is a step into the Marvel world the next move? As a pro-wrestler, Farrelly certainly has the physique to play the space-pumped life-form.
The Irish-born wrestler has had a taste of Hollywood, and is eyeing up bigger roles in the future. In a recent interview with Digital Spy, Farrelly said:
I've always said I want to play Venom, from Spider-Man. Another iconic character.
This comes off the back of the likes of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, who is certainly making quite a career of himself. Recently cast as Doc Savage, Johnson is hot property in Hollywood; meanwhile Dave Bautista has appeared in the likes of Spectre and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as being confirmed for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Venom is the gooey alien anti-hero which forms part of Spider-Man's expansive rogues gallery. The character is a fan favourite and we have long waited for a proper cinematic version. Venom was met with a mixed reception when played as the Eddie Brock/Venom version by Topher Grace, in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3. During Marc Webb's re-booted Amazing Spider-Man, films there was also a nod to Venom; in a deleted post-credits scene of Amazing Spider-Man 2, we see the symbiote next to Vulture's wings and Dr. Octopus's arms in the Oscorp building. The post-credits were due to set up both Sinister Six and Venom standalones, but the poor performance of the franchise has cast Sony's plans into doubt. Whether or not Venom will be mentioned in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming remains to be seen, but now is the perfect time to start again!
When asked about other wrestlers exiting the ring for a career in films, Farrelly told Digital Spy:
They've carried the torch and led the way...They've shown that it can be done. When you're in a WWE ring and you do a live show in front of millions of people around the world there's no second takes, there's no cuts, it's happening as you speak, it's out there.
It's going right to the live camera. That's definitely helped prepare me, and I'm sure helped prepare The Rock and Bautista as well for their careers in movies. They definitely compliment each other.
So, can you see Farrelly popping on the black lycra? By the way, who's next, Stone Cold Steve Austin to replace Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? You can catch Farrelly as Rocksteady in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which is out now.