Shane Black

Shane Black in Predator

Things are coming full circle for Shane Black, the famed action screenwriter who made his on screen debut shortly after his first scripted movie (Lethal Weapon) opened in theaters. His first credited role was in Predator as Hawkins, the bespectacled, comic book-reading radio operator who was a member of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special forces team. He was also the first man to die. Now he’s been resurrected within the franchise off screen, as The Hollywood Reporter tells us that he’s signed on to write a treatment for a new Predator reboot, which he’ll also direct. Black’s Monster Squad collaborator Fred Dekker is on board to handle the actual screenplay for the new installment. A few things come quickly to mind with this news. One is that 20th Century Fox and original producer John Davis have finally, after 28 years, got Black to pen some material for the franchise they’d attempted to have him work on in the form of a script polish in 1986. Another is that he should make this a sequel where he again appears, this time as Hawkins’s twin brother looking for revenge, and he again dies first. Finally, the most immediate association anyone should have with something Black is involved in: this Predator will have to be set during the Christmas season. The funny thing is, there was already an image of the Predator made up like Santa Claus existing on the web just waiting for this all to happen.

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IntroGenre

By no means are directors expected to make the same movie over and over again – but they also don’t tend to fly genre to genre like some kind of bipolar carnival game either. Here are a few directors who – if they were to put on an autograph signing – would find themselves in the midst of a very polarized crowd of fans.

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ironman3-commentary1

Much like The Avengers last summer, Iron Man 3 was the undisputed box office champion of the season in 2013. Building off the good buzz from The Avengers and the events in the end of that movie, Iron Man 3 offered the new director of the series Shane Black a chance to take Tony Stark to new places. Namely, he got him out of the Iron Man suit and toyed with the notion that Tony Stark was the real hero, even without all the technology. Following up two massive movies before it, and one of the biggest box office successes in history as an ensemble piece, Iron Man 3 was still a bit of a gamble. It paid off for all the parties involved. However, when Black and his co-writer Drew Pearce recorded their commentary to the film, the film had not yet proved itself completely. They had only been open for a week overseas, with the American opening on the horizon. Sure, it was a huge success at that point outside of the U.S., but so was Battleship. Still, Black and Pearce move through the commentary with confidence that it’s a hit, and that gives them the stones to explain why they chose to change some character elements from the original source material and why there were about as many revisions to the scripts as revisions to the Iron Man suit in Tony’s basement. Iron Man 3 comes out on DVD and Blu-ray next week, so take a few […]

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James Badge Dale

There were a surprising amount of baddies in Iron Man 3. Director Shane Black‘s Tony Stark adventure put the idea of multiple villains being a bad idea to rest. One of those villains — or henchman, if you want to get technical — was played by a familiar face, James Badge Dale. Badge Dale chewed on every piece of Black’s dialog and his character’s eccentricities. Even with the technical challenges, it’s a role Badge Dale wanted to let loose with. The actor used to work construction, and he wanted to bring that mentality to the character. A Shane Black henchman isn’t the only role we’ll see James Badge Dale in this summer, as he has both World War Z and The Lone Ranger next on dock, and they represent a chance for the actor to reach an audience that maybe doesn’t frequently watch Shame or The Pacific with their free time. They’re certainly all physical roles, which, according to James Badge Dale, is a part of the job that he loves:

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Shane Black

If people really pay attention to directors, a lot of them found out who Shane Black is this weekend. Iron Man 3, his second best film as a director, sees him transitioning to a phase that he’s lived in before as a screenwriter. He found success in his twenties after acting in Predator and selling his script for Lethal Weapon, following-up with even more stories about kidnapping and Christmas. He’s brash, great with a comeback, and known for inserting fourth wall-breaking jabs into his scene descriptions, but he’s also been on both sides of the studio coin. That’s given him a front row seat for great success, backlash, a re-emergence that didn’t strike it big, and now another resurrection. It was clear before that he had talent, and now he’s got wisdom. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man who knows what you find when you look up “idiot” in the dictionary.

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savage

Doc Savage was one of the most popular pulp magazine heroes of the 30s and 40s. So much so that his fictional fame lasted for decades as he inspired countless radio, television, and film programs, as well as several comic book adaptations. As we’ve seen from past aborted attempts at bringing other pulp heroes like The Shadow or The Spirit to the big screen, however, being popular in the 30s and 40s isn’t a guarantee that a hero is going to have the right stuff to make for a successful modern film franchise. In spite of the semi-recent failures that still linger in the memories of the filmgoing public, Sony Pictures has decided that the package they’ve put together for Doc Savage is worth taking a risk on. The reason they’re so confident is because the guy they’ve got co-writing and directing the new take on this classic hero is Shane Black, and Shane Black just made Marvel over $700 million in a week by directing Iron Man 3.

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Iron Man 3 Iron Patriot

Spoiler warning: There will be spoilers. Since 2008, a great deal of ink (or, at least, the Internet’s equivalent of ink) has been spilled on the political weight of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films. From the depiction of post-9/11 trauma and Batman’s Patriot Act-style tactics in The Dark Knight to The Dark Knight Rises’s ideologically incoherent depiction of Gotham’s Occupy-enabled descent into a metropolitan anarchist dystopia, multiple theories and debates have assessed where the Nolanverse lies on the 21st century American political spectrum. The self-serious tone of these superhero films lend themselves to similarly solemn allegorical readings – Nolan’s Batman films are inferred as brimming with meaning and intent by virtue of an auteur director envisioning an alternative vision of America on a mass scale. But most political readings of the Dark Knight films inevitably encounter contradiction – the ambivalence of these films always fails to match their allegorical promise. The Robert Downey, Jr.-led Iron Man series presents itself as lightweight, goofy summer entertainment, a media object designed to be consumed passively rather than interrogated for its layers of meaning. But Iron Man has explored far more legible, richer, and more interesting politics than its darker counterpart. Its two directors (Jon Favreau and Shane Black), while talented, are situated less as auteurs and more as contributors to a collective, synergistic corporate vision. Iron Man’s politics, while often foregrounded narratively, are presented as a set of ideological assumptions rather than an active investigation of contemporary political tensions. And that’s exactly what makes […]

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iron man 301

Iron Man 3 is a movie I’ve seen, and if you’re reading this I sincerely trust that you have too. Why? Two reasons. First, you should see it because it’s a pretty fun flick. And second? I’m about to unload spoilers below of epic proportions. My review is elsewhere on the site, and you should probably give it a read so you can call me names for the grade I gave it. The movie has issues, and more than that it leaves us with some serious questions. Again, and obviously, there are spoilers below regarding things that happen and who they happen to so tread lightly.

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Brian Tyler

Iron Man 3 hits theaters this Friday, but you can already get the soundtrack composed by Brian Tyler. While the music of the previous two Iron Man movies was rooted in rock and roll, the newest entry  ushers in a new era of Tony Stark, and Tyler rises to the challenge of creating a more epic sounding score to accompany this change in tone. Tyler and I discussed his sound profile for a new era of Iron Man, the process (and importance) behind creating a memorable theme, and the joy of recording in the same studio where an iconic film score was made.

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review iron man 3

We can probably all agree that Iron Man 2 is the Green Lantern of this particular franchise in that it just isn’t good. There’s a lot going on and even more characters to keep track of, but none of it congeals into anything remotely compelling or more than slightly entertaining. Well the good news is that Iron Man 3 is a better movie. The bad news is that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot. As befits the third film in a comic book franchise, our hero Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is finally being forced to look within for his greatest challenge. He became a hero in part one, fought off powerful enemies in part two and is now coming to grips with the toll his superhero lifestyle has incurred. The events in The Avengers have left Stark suffering from PTSD, insomnia and anxiety attacks, and his romance with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is on the rocks. Coincidentally enough, his beautiful Malibu mansion is heading the same direction courtesy of two new threats. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is a jihadist of indiscriminate ethnic background with a penchant for blowing up Americans, and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is a hotshot scientist still smarting from one of Stark’s pranks many years before.

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Anthony Mackie in Captain America 2

On tonight’s Movie News After Dark, we start with a few words on the Netflix Streampocalypse that will undoubtedly be wreaking havoc on your life, then move on to this week’s big stories: Iron Man, Marvel, Iron Man, Marvel, Thai Iron Man.

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hr_Iron_Man_3_36

Not sure if you’re going to hit a midnight screening of Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3? On the fence about doling out the cash for an IMAX screening of the latest adventures of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)? Feel like your walls need some help looking their absolute coolest? We can fix all of those things for you. IMAX has long given out special posters for select midnight screenings, and while that tradition is (sadly) ending with next month’s Iron Man 3, they’re going out with one hell of a one-sheet. Designed by renowned comic book artist Jock, the very cool final poster will only be available to attendees of 12:01 IMAX shows of the film on May 3rd (and, you know, to people who are quick on the Ebay draw). Is your local theater participating? Find out by clicking here. [Press Release, via ComingSoon]

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Thor and Iron Man

The first two films to be released in Marvel Studios’ post-Avengers, second wave of interconnected films are Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 and Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World. Through various rumor mills and casting reports we’ve already gleamed a lot about what these two sequels are going to be about, but today Marvel finally released official synopses of the two films, and have effectively removed any lingering doubts. First up is Black’s film, which the studio describes by saying, “Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?” While all that stuff about Iron Man having to go on a quest that tests his mettle is pretty vague, that last line of the synopsis about the man making the suit or the suit making the man clearly supports the rumors that have surfaced (due to various casting reports) that Iron Man 3 would largely be taking its inspiration from Warren Ellis’ […]

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Stolen Movie Nic Cage 2012

A general rule of thumb to follow when dealing with modern Nic Cage movies is that the more ridiculous his hair looks in the trailer, the more awesomely bad the movie is going to end up being. Given that criteria, it doesn’t seem like his latest film, Stolen, is really going to be anything to write home about. Just look at that relatively short, slicked back, graciously-accepting-the-receding-nature-of-the-hairline do that he’s sporting here—it’s almost typical for a man his age. Given the apparent lack of lunacy, is Stolen even going to be worth watching? Maybe. It’s important to keep in mind that this project is re-teaming the actor with his Con Air director, Simon West, and Con-Air is one of the seminal, balls-crazy Nic Cage action films. He plays a character named Cameron Poe in that one, for heaven’s sake. There’s bound to be at least some residual craziness seeping into this one, even if Cage has people hair and is playing a character named Will Montgomery. We do know that there’s at least one scene where Cage awkwardly holds a teddy bear in public. And Josh Lucas does seem to be pretty creepy playing some sort of cab-driving villain who looks like one of the bank robber surfers from Point Break if they got into meth. Plus, making a movie about a kidnapped daughter called Stolen after Liam Neeson had so much success getting his daughter kidnapped in Taken lends the whole thing a B-grade, ripoff charm. It looks like […]

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The fine folks at Marvel would like to prove that production on Iron Man 3 has begun as a reminder in these dark knighted times. As if their dominance of the early summer isn’t enough, the production house is getting the official advertising/awareness campaign going 11 months before Shane Black‘s film hits theaters with Robert Downey, Jr. back in the Stark suit. As the above picture (click it to enlargify) shows, he’s got a lot of them now. He’s also got an odd man with a clapboard following him around. Watch out, Tony! He’s got a fanny pack of some sort! Jokes aside, has a threequel ever been this anticipated based not on the second installment, but on another film entirely?

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Seeing as the Iron Man franchise is coming up on its third film – and the first that’s seeing a changeover of directors – one might think that Marvel would be hedging their bets with it and lowering their expectations. How many times will audiences really keep coming back to watch Robert Downey Jr. playing the same snarky character? And even if the love for this take on Tony Stark can last indefinitely, will the loss of franchise launcher Jon Favreau in the role of director lead to Iron Man 3 being tonally different from its predecessors? And if so, how will Downey’s smitten audience react to going in for more Iron Man and getting something that feels unfamiliar? When it comes to an aging franchise that’s in the midst of creative turnover, one would imagine that a movie studio would start playing things a little bit safe. But seeing as The Avengers just came out and pretty much scooped up all of the money left in the global economy and became an international topic of culture conversation, that’s not the direction they’ve decided to go. Marvel heroes are the “in thing” right now, and their new-found level of relevance has led the studio to believe that they can do more.

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You know James Badge Dale, you just might not know that you know him. The actor has popped up in key supporting roles in films like The Departed, The Conspirator, and Shame, while also appearing in shows like 24, Rescue Me, Rubicon, and The Pacific mini-series, but it looks like Dale is about to rocket into the superhero stratosphere. Deadline Malibu reports that Dale is in talks to play a villain named Savin in Shane Black‘s upcoming Iron Man 3. While Ben Kingsley has been set as the film’s principle villain (though many are still arguing over whether or not he will be The Mandarin), it looks like the film needs another baddie to make Robert Downey Jr.‘s life harder. The outlet provides only the barest of details regarding the character, but over at /Film, Russ Fischer is guessing that he “is likely a version of Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Savin, an Army officer who debuted in Marvel comics pages in the late ’80s and was quickly transformed into a cybernetic mercenary called Coldblood-7. Think of him as something like the Marvel Comics version of RoboCop, at least from the perspective of appearance and physical makeup.” While Savin is a “relatively minor” character, Fischer also note that “he did show up in the Civil War storyline from a few years back…And the idea of an officer turned into a cybernetic killer by defense technology would fit into the rumors that Iron Man 3 features the Extremis/nanotech storyline.” Sounds like Savin just might […]

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That didn’t take too long at all. Earlier this week, actress Jessica Chastain took to her Facebook page to announce that scheduling conflicts would keep her from her rumored role in Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3, leaving room for Rebecca Hall to step in for the reportedly crucial role. Variety reports (via /Film) that the actress is currently in talks for the part, which has been somewhat dismissively referred to as a “sexy female scientist,” but is actually one of the most important roles in the film. Hall’s potential role is explained as “a scientist who plays a pivotal role in the creation of a nanotechnology, know as Extremis, that winds up being sold to terrorists.” That means the role is almost assuredly that of Dr. Maya Hansen, as has been long rumored. And, in no-duh news, the film’s plot will reportedly “borrow elements from Warren Ellis’ six-issue ‘Iron Man: Extremis,’ that also heavily influenced the first Iron Man pic, and focuses on the spread of a virus through nanotechnology.” Most notably, the origin story for Iron Man that was presented in “Extremis” was the one used in the first Iron Man film, so the influence of Ellis’ story is indeed quite heavy. Also of note, in the “Extremis” series, Extremis the nanotechnology serum is – shock! – part of another military attempt to recreate that damn Super-Solider Serum. Seriously, guys, is it really that hard?

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A few weeks ago, news hit that rising star Jessica Chastain would possibly star in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, in a role only defined as being a “sexy scientist” (which many people predicted was the role of Dr. Maya Hansen). Reactions were mixed, to say the least, with some movie-lovers getting pretty ticked off that Chastain would go so mainstream and others finding themselves excited to see Chastain get a shot in such a high profile film. We can call off the warring fan factions, however, as Chastain herself has taken to the Internet to share that she won’t be joining the film after all. Chastain shares on her Facebook (via ComingSoon): “Sorry to say that ‘Iron Man’ 3 isn’t going to work out,” she writes. “My schedule is jammed packed and I can’t fit anything else in. The press announced my possible attachment far too soon. I know many of you wanted me to be involved, and I’m so sorry to disappoint you. Hopefully there’ll be another Marvel film in my future. Shane Black and everyone on the IM3 team are really wonderful. I’m very excited to see the film when it comes out. xx”

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The Avengers hits theaters this Friday, but we’re looking to the future. The not-too-distant future but further out than this coming Friday. May 3, 2013, to be precise, when Iron Man 3 hits. Naturally, it stars Robert Downey Jr., still the comeback kid whose A-list status may as well be written in Adamantium. But it’s also being written and directed by Shane Black, the amazing screenwriter who brought us Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, The Last Boyscout, and this week’s film on Commentary Commentary, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It was Black’s debut as a director, and it’s arguably his best piece of work in 25 years. This week we’re listening to what Black and Downey Jr. have to say about this “indie” action/comedy. Val Kilmer joins the commentary party, too, because any party with Kilmer is better than any party without him. He just loves to drop names, as is indicated by this very bit of audio. With these three in the room together, talking about this very entertaining film, you know a healthy dose of fun is about to be had. So here you have it. All 38 things we learned listening to the commentary for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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