It’s good to be the director of the film with the second biggest opening in cinema history.
For example, major studios suddenly become excited about projects you were forced to mothball 3 years ago, as is the case with Shane Black’s Doc Savage. The director was set to begin production on a film adaptation of the iconic pre-superhero age pulp character in 2009 for Sony and producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. He had a draft of a script he co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry.
Unfortunately, the project stalled, and Black went to work for Marvel in 2011.
Just in case you’re not all that familiar with the character, Doc Savage was a mainstay of the “Pulp Fiction” (as in dime novels printed on cheap paper, not as in Quentin Tarantino) era. Think of him as the “Model T” of the nearly superhuman, alpha-male adventurer/scientist/crime fighter/genius/detective/explorer archetype.
Shades of Doc Savage can be seen in fictional characters and franchises from Batman to Indiana Jones to The Venture Bros. to Buckaroo Banzai.
Anyhoo, the film’s back on again, with Black directing from the same script he wrote with Bagarozzi and Mondry. The Wrap reported on the finalization of the deal, and Sony offered this press release:
WRITER/DIRECTOR SHANE BLACK
TO MAKE DOC SAVAGE
FOR SONY PICTURES AND ORIGINAL FILM
CULVER CITY, Calif., May 7, 2013 –Sony Pictures Entertainment has closed its deal with Shane Black to co-write and direct Doc Savage, and Black is eyeing it as his next film, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio. Black co-wrote the screenplay with Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, based on the hero of pulp novels, films, and comic books. Neal H. Moritz is producing the project with Ori Marmur through his Original Film banner. Michael Usland will also serve as a producer on the film.
Commenting on the announcement, Minghella said, “We couldn’t be more excited to be building a franchise from the ground up with Shane and this team. Shane and Neal have a fantastic understanding of the character and a great take on the material and we can’t wait to get this production up and running.”
One of the most popular characters of the pulps of the 1930s and 40s, Doc Savage was also popularized on radio, film and television. He is a scientist, physician, adventurer, inventor, explorer and researcher. He has been trained since birth to be nearly superhuman in every way, with outstanding strength, a photographic memory, and vast knowledge and intelligence. He uses his skills and powers to punish evil wherever in the world he finds it.
Black most recently co-wrote and directed Iron Man 3 which has grossed more than $700 million since opening a little more than one week ago. He previously wrote and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Sam Dickerman and Lauren Abrahams are overseeing the title for Columbia Pictures along with Minghella. Black is represented by David Greenblatt, WME and his attorney Alan Hergott.
No information is as yet available regarding shooting schedules or release dates, NerdBastards will, of course, bring you further updates as they become available.