Robert Downey Jr and Shane Black are reteaming for an adaptation of the Parker crime novel series, which should prove less divisive than Iron Man 3.
Robert Downey Jr is set to reteam with director Shane Black for numerous adaptations of the Parker novels, which should make for a less divisive outing following their last collaboration Iron Man 3. While making his acting comeback in the early 2000s, Downey Jr took on supporting roles in the likes of Halle Berry horror Gothika and Good Night, and Good Luck. It was 2005 thriller Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang that showed his star potential on full display again, with the actor and co-star Val Kilmer turning in career-best work.
Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang also marked a return for Shane Black, who was one of the most successful screenwriters of the ’80s and ’90s. Black wrote bombastic action movies with excellent dialogue such as Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout but took a step back in the late ’90s. Black and Downey Jr – who only lasted one season on Saturday Night Live – would form a friendship following Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang also. They later reteamed for 2010’s Iron Man 3, which was another big success.
After a long gap, the duo will reunite once more for a planned series of adaptations of the Parker books. The first novel The Hunter was written by Richard Stark (the pseudonym for author Donald E. Westlake) and was published in the early ’60s. Parker himself is an expert thief who is utterly ruthless and single-minded in his goals. In The Hunter, he’s seeking revenge on those who double-crossed him and has no issue killing whoever stands in his way. Stark went on to write over 20 Parker novels, many of which were adapted into films, including 1967’s Point Blank and 2013’s Jason Statham vehicle Parker. Downey Jr and Black plan multiple Parker movies and shows, starting with Stark’s final Parker book Dirty Money. In addition to being an exciting development for both, Dirty Money should prove considerably less controversial than Iron Man 3.
Parker Can Be A Less Divisive RDJ & Shane Black Teamup
Iron Man 3 was a huge success coming off The Avengers and saw Downey Jr’s Tony Stark dealing with PTSD and the emergence of a new villain dubbed The Mandarin. The sequel featured Black’s typical flair for dialogue and it even had something of an homage to Lethal Weapon in the finale. However, Iron Man 3 attracted fan complaints for its decision to forego Stark wearing the suit for much of the runtime, and revealing the Mandarin is really an actor playing a terrorist and not the villain from the comics. At the time, Black explained the reasoning behind this decision as offering a fresh take on the Mandarin – who was revisited in Shang-Chi – who had aged somewhat poorly in the decades following his comic debut. Iron Man 3 still received broadly positive reviews, but this complaint lingered in later years, with Black acknowledging that some fans are still angered over it.
Following Iron Man 3, Black received praise for his buddy comedy The Nice Guys but 2018 sequel The Predator was – sadly – a dud. With their planned Parker franchise, both Black and Downey Jr should be on much more comfortable ground. Black is an avid fan of those kind of retro, pulpy novels, as seen in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and The Nice Guys. For Downey Jr, Parker represents a total 180 from Tony Stark; where the latter is always cracking wise and looking to save others, Parker is basically a criminal version of The Terminator. The star has largely been playing roles that highlight his natural charm and humor, but Parker should offer him a unique challenge. With so much great material to pick from, Black and Downey Jr’s Parker adaptation should be something special.