Robert Downey Jr. And Shane Black To Reteam For Parker Adaptation (No, Not That Parker)

Move over, Jason Statham, because there's a new Parker in town. As Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. may be associated with a certain Peter Parker, but that's not the Parker that he and his old pal Shane Black are reuniting to adapt. The actor and his two-time director are reportedly headed to Amazon Studios for a new film adaptation of Donald E. Westlake's "Parker" novels.

According to the Hollywood insider newsletter, "Puck's What I'm Hearing" (via, Black will script the film, though it doesn't mention if he is also directing. Black directed Downey in "Iron Man 3," of course, but their history goes back further than that to Black's directorial debut, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which was instrumental in helping Downey make a comeback and win the "Iron Man" lead. Downey even went so far as to call "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" his best role, saying:

"'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' which is, I think, in some ways the best film I've ever done. It wound up being a calling card. It came out, and it bombed, but Jon Favreau saw it, and he said, 'This guy could do an action movie.' And so that wound up being my calling card into the Marvel Universe."

Westlake wrote two dozen "Parker" books under the pen name of Richard Stark. A number of those books have already been adapted into movies, starring the likes of Statham, Mel Gibson, Peter Coyote, Robert Duvall, Jim Brown, and Lee Marvin. "The Hunted" was adapted twice, into "Payback" and "Point Blank." There are no details yet on which book Downey and Black are adapting, but the actor's wife and production partner, Susan Downey of Team Downey, is producing along with Black's old "Lethal Weapon" and "The Nice Guys" patron, Joel Silver.

This could be another comeback for both of them

Downey's first post-Iron Man film, "Dolittle," was a critical and commercial failure, and Black also did not fare well, either way, with his last effort, "The Predator," though our own Chris Evangelista was more positive on it in his review than other critics were. After a beloved 11-year run in the MCU that saw him rank as the world's highest-paid actor for six of those years, Downey could probably afford to continue "doing little" and retire to an island full of talking animals, never to return. However, at one point, he was slated to star in HBO's "Perry Mason" revival.

Even though he wound up only executive producing that series, letting Matthew Rhys take on the title role instead, it was an exciting prospect to imagine him acting outside the Marvel box in such a role. I get the same feeling imagining him as Parker in a Black-scripted film. 

In the '80s and '90s, Black first made a name for himself as a screenwriter (and occasional "Predator" beefcake) whose scripts would sometimes break the fourth wall with "Shane Blackisms." The one for "Lethal Weapon" contained the immortal line:


The kind of house that I'll buy if this movie is a huge hit.

Black endured some controversy with "The Predator," so it feels like he and Downey could both use another hit, even though both of them were doing pretty well in their careers until their last two films. Maybe their "Parker" adaptation for Amazon will be the thing to put them both back on top.