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I never expected to actually see a studio announcing "Doc Savage".
Sure, we've reported on the various blips and bloops about this one over the course of the development so far, and just over a week ago, we mentioned this as a very real possibility for Black to return to as his next film.
Now it appears to be official. Sony sent out the press release a little while ago announcing a formal deal with Shane to write and direct what I'm sure they all hope will be the first of many "Doc Savage" movies. This is a thrilling moment on a lot of levels. First, Shane Black has never been more white-hot than he is right now. Even the release of "Lethal Weapon" can't compare to this based on what a commercial juggernaut "Iron Man 3" has become. I'm sure everyone expected it to be a hit, but it's a sensation. The money it's earning is sort of amazing. Marvel defies all expectations each time out.
Black could do pretty much anything next based on the reviews and the returns for "Iron Man 3," and that's the exact moment to do something like "Doc Savage." He's going to be doing his best to establish an entire world with that film, peopled with characters like Monk and Ham and Long Tom and Doc's plucky cousin Pat. I'm dying to see if he tries to evoke the work of James Bama, who wasn't the first artist to try to define Doc and his friends visually, but who was arguably the most important. The Doc I used as the graphic for this story is a James Bama version, painted for the Bantam Books reissues that started publishing in the '60s. Black could well have his own interpretation in mind and he's certainly not obligated to look to book covers for his visual inspiration. I'm just curious since we've never really had a defining visual version of the character.
Here's what Sony sent over:
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.
Excited yet? I am. I'm tracking this one with the keenest possible interest, and I find it amazing to think I may well be sitting down in a theater within the next few years to finally see someone take a serious shot at turning one of the great all-time pulp creations into a big screen adventure.
"Iron Man 3" is in theaters and kicking ass currently.