With Iron Man 3, director Shane Black has the second-biggest US movie opening ever, and a film that is rapidly on track to hit the $1b global box-office mark. That translates to professional capital, and Black is ready to devote some of it to a project that was back-burnered a couple years ago.
In 2009 Black scripted a big-screen revival of the pulp character Doc Savage for Sony and producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The character is a hero of pulp novels and comics, described as “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.”
The film, designed at that point as a period piece, almost went forward in 2010 with Black directing from a draft he co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry. Ultimately, however, it stalled, and then Black ended up going to work for Marvel in 2011.
Now the film is back on at Sony, with Black directing from that script he wrote with Bagarozzi and Mondry.
Black had talked up Doc Savage to Collider back in April, and now there’s confirmation from the studio that the project is officially happening. The Wrap reports the deal, and a Sony press release that went out immediately after has the following info:
WRITER/DIRECTOR SHANE BLACK
TO MAKE DOC SAVAGE
FOR SONY PICTURES AND ORIGINAL FILM
CULVER CITY, Calif., May 7, 2013 –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.
Sam Dickerman and Lauren Abrahams are overseeing the title for Columbia Pictures along with Minghella. Black is represented by David Greenblatt, WME and his attorney Alan Hergott.