The Ten Most Interesting Directors of the Now – Shane Black
Let’s have a look at the sixth entry in our series of the Ten Most Interesting Directors of the Now: Shane Black
Shane Black has been involved in the film industry on a professional level for decades before he stepped into the directors role. In fact, to date he’s only got one directing credit under his belt with his second in pre-production. We’ll get to those in a moment.
After an early life in Pennsylvania and attending high school in California Black was accepted in UCLA with his eyes set of acting. Upon graduation in 1983 he struggled to make a living as an actor – although he’ll be familiar to most geeks as ‘Hawkins’ in Predator, until the jungle came alive and took him that is.
When a friend suggested that he try his hand at screen writing. At the age of 23 he sold the second script he’d written only three days after writing it. That script was a little film called Lethal Weapon. Needless to say this was a sign of a solid writing talent. He followed it up with three sequels, The Monster Squad, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight, making him one of the most important names in action cinema during its most important era.
Black had several recurring motifs and themes through his films. They’re often set around Christmas – something that became a genre staple – frequently centred on a kidnapping and, whether deliberate or not, usually titled his films starting with the letter ‘L’. Proving that he has a sense of humour he was known for dropping jokes into the scripts for studio executives and script readers.
It wasn’t until 2005 that he stepped behind the camera with one of his own scripts, an adaptation of the novel ‘Bodies Are Where You Find Them’ that he called Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. The movie was loved by critics but performed poorly (further proof that the general public are damaged) and has gone on to become a cult favourite.
The film is extremely smart, seemingly telling the story whilst perched precariously on top of the fourth wall. The dialogue blisters while the pacing was a rhythm that more experienced directors can’t manage to find. The only part of the film that is disappointing is that with the poor box office we are unlikely to see a sequel. The further adventures of Harry and Gay Perry would be something worth seeing.
Black has been out of spotlight since, only producing the short film A.W.O.L. Most geeks, however, will be watching his next project very closely as he is stepping into the role of director for Iron Man 3. Considering the very clear influences of Black’s early work on the first two Iron Man films, this is a perfect fit. No doubt geeks everywhere will be expecting something impressive.
Word on the grapevine also indicates that Shane Black is on the docket to direct the English language version of Japanese anime Death Note that will present the director with a different kind of story to tell. Again – this is something worth keeping an eye on.
Looking to the past Shane Black is an essential figure in laying the groundwork in the modern action genre that we know and love. As a director he is absolutely one to watch.