Black Talks “Doc Savage,” “Predator,” “Lethal 5”

Shane Black, who made a name for himself in the 1980s with his scripts for action films like “Lethal Weapon” and “The Last Boyscout,” earned his directing stripes with 2005’s acclaimed darkly comedic detective noir “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. That film saw Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer teaming up to bring down a conspiracy in contemporary Los Angeles, one that ties back to the body of a young woman.

Earlier this week came the second trailer for Black’s new film “The Nice Guys,” a movie which essentially plays in the same wheelhouse although changes the setting to the 1970s and swaps out the leads with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. In the wake of that release, Black revealed to The Thrillist that he has no problem returning to the genre and is up for ‘Nice Guys’ sequels should the first fare well:

“I have no problem with a detective franchise. You can always have another case. Especially I love this notion, if should it do well, I don’t want to jinx anything. It’s a landlocked franchise. This one takes place in the ’70s. The next one, we’d have to look at what’s down in the ’80s, what was going on in ’84, let’s say. What can we do? Then, if we did another one, it’d be the ’90s. I love that notion of creeping through the years, but they’re all landlocked. They’re all in a past era.”

Black has a very busy schedule coming up including the long in the works film version of early comic pulp hero “Doc Savage”. In the interview, Black reveals he has just the guy in mind to play the Man of Bronze:

“‘Doc Savage’ is sort of in the ether now. We’re hoping to make it sometime next year. I would very much like to do ‘Doc’ with a fellow named Dwayne Johnson if we can make that work. I made a decision that Dwayne is the guy. It’s on the back burner while he’s busy.”

Black’s immediate next project is the ‘restart’ of the “Predator” franchise with 20th Century Fox’s “The Predator”. It’s a project he’s calling an event film, one he was initially reluctant to get onboard due to the last few terrible films in the series:

“They called me and I was reluctant. I said, ‘Look. You guys at Fox, I mean, I enjoy these movies, but we’ve been churning out these AVP whatever, they each cost a certain amount of money, they’re okay, but there’s no effort to elevate them or make them any kind of an event. They’re just sort of another Predator. Oh, there’s another one that came out.’

They said, ‘What if we said to you we want to reinvent this, and really treat it with as much of an event status, or as much hoopla as we would the Alien prequel, which is coming out also? We really want to make this something. The kind of movie that people line up for.’ I said, ‘Really, you’ll spend a bunch of money?’ They go, ‘Yep.’ I go, ‘Make it really scale, spectacle?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘S—, that sounds interesting.

I think the first one was great, and it was contained, and it was a perfect little gem for what it was. I think there’s an expansion that needs to take place, and also just a love for that era, that movie, and the mythology of the Predator. I think that they came to me knowing pretty much that… they said, basically, if I wanted to make Predator but treat it like it was Iron Man III instead of just another little movie. I said, ‘Let’s really do it right this time.'”

He also touched upon the chances of a fifth “Lethal Weapon” which was seriously in the works for a while until Mel Gibson’s public meltdown:

“We flirted with ‘Lethal Weapon 5,’ and I think we had a pretty good movie, potentially. That would have been a slightly older, gunslinger version of the two of those characters. Now one’s 50 and one’s 60. That was another project I think that whatever chance it might have had went away with Mr. Gibson. Whether you think it’s fair or unfair, his chances of making $100 million movies kind of evaporated at that point.”

Black has no involvement in the “Lethal Weapon” TV series currently in the works. “The Nice Guys” opens on May 20th, while “The Predator” is slated for March 2nd 2018.