Before Iron Man 3 director Shane Black was, well, “Iron Man 3 director Shane Black,” the clever filmmaker was best known for his extremely funny Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The 2005 dark comedy blends a classic murder mystery (Michelle Monaghan’s character is obsessed with an old paperback detective, and the fictional world she’s read about since she was a kid steadily bleeds into a real murder mystery) and some hefty laughs (the film also stars Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, need we say more?) to create a cult classic that you should probably go watch right now.
Kiss Kiss wasn’t Black’s only foray into the world of mixing up crime and comedy — the director also created the Lethal Weapon franchise, so he knows what he’s doing when it comes to this kind of very specific genre work. This is all a long way of saying that, if Black is back to blending violence and humor, it’s a good thing. And, hey, that’s just what he’s about to do!
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Black’s next film — a comedy noir titled The Nice Guys — has just found a home over at Warner Bros. The film was first announced last month, and its impressive cast (Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, who are now officially confirmed for the project) and fun plotline (“a private detective and a beefcake…search for a missing porn star and uncover an underground ring of corruption”) seemed to position the film as a hot ticket. Warner Bros. has now picked up the film’s North American distribution rights and will produce the film. Super-producer Joel Silver, who also produced Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the Lethal Weapon franchise, will produce this one, too.
Although the film sounds like classic Black — and THR assures us that it’s “said to have much of the trademark Shane Black dark comedy and smarty-pants dialogue” — it will be a slight departure for the filmmaker, as it’s technically a period piece. The film is set in Los Angeles in the seventies and is very much billed as a dark comedy with noir undertones.
Black initially wrote the film with Anthony Bagarozzi as a television series, but it apparently never made it past the pilot stage. Black and Silver then reworked the project to make it suitable for a feature. Casting big names like Crowe and Gosling only added to the film’s heat, and now it looks like everything’s coming along nicely.
There’s no word on when the film will go into production — Black, Crowe, and Gosling are all extremely busy, but WB’s quick interest in the feature signals that this thing has really got some heat on it.
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