Robert Downey Jr. And Shane Black Set Play Dirty As Their First Parker Movie

Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr. have set up their much-anticipated reunion, after having collaborated on the cult classic "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and the criminally underrated "Iron Man 3." It was recently announced that the two would work with Amazon Studios on a series of film and TV adaptations of Donald E. Westlake's "Parker" novels, which have previously been adapted into movies that starred the likes of Jason Statham, Robert Duvall, and Mel Gibson.

Now, we may finally know what the first "Parker" adaptation will be. According to Deadline, the first project to emerge from the production deal will be a feature film titled "Play Dirty." The project will star Robert Downey Jr. as Parker, who is described as a professional thief with a rather brutal, no-nonsense work ethic. 

More importantly, Deadline confirms Black will not only pen the screenplay adaptation together with Charles Mondry and Anthony Bagarozzi, but he will direct "Play Dirty" as well. To make the "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" reunion sweeter, Joel Silver will also produce the project, alongside Susan Downey for Team Downey and Marc Toberoff.

The comeback we need

A Shane Black/Robert Downey Jr. collaboration, no matter the source material, is cause for celebration. Black's directorial debut and the duo's first movie together, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," is considered a cult classic and one of the best black comedy crime films ever made — mixing Black's unique brand of dark humor and social commentary with the type of hardboiled crime story that Donald E. Westlake made a career out of. Honestly, if you add a bunch of jokes to any "Parker" story, you get pretty close to a Shane Black joint.

"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" marked not only a fantastic debut for Black as a director, but a turning point in Downey's career. Though the film bombed at the box office, it gave us outstanding performances by both Downey and Val Kilmer, with the former calling it "the best film I've ever done," and it became the calling card that launched Downey into the MCU.

"Play Dirty" could be a comeback for both Downey and Black, and their last projects have had less than stellar receptions. For Downey, his first film after "Avengers: Endgame" was the box office disaster "Doolittle," while Black went from directing the criminally underseen but brilliant "The Nice Guys," to the disappointing "The Predator" reboot.

With shows like "Lupin" and "La Casa de Papel" making stories about thieves popular on TV, and hardboiled yet comedic detective shows and films like "Knives Out," "Only Murders in the Building," and "The Afterparty" finding big success, there's never been a better time for Shane Black to get his own franchise. Let's just hope it still maintains Black's tongue-in-cheek humor.