Shane Black, the energetic helmer behind Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, has been tapped by Sony Pictures to direct The Destroyer, an adaptation of the adventure book series by Warren Murphy.
In the long-running paperback series, which was last adapted into a 1985 film starring Fred Ward, Newark cop Remo Williams is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to death. However, instead of executing Williams, the government fakes his death so as to train him as an assassin. Going to work for the clandestine U.S. agency CURE, Williams teams with Asian assassin Chiun and begins a long career of taking down evildoers across the globe.
Jim Uhls (Fight Club) penned the script with James Mullaney, who first co-authored entries in the Destroyer series then became the sole author until it ended in 2008.
Between The Destroyer and the recently announced Mack Bolan, men’s adventure novels are having an unexpected moment in Hollywood. Whether or not it lasts, Sony Pictures has reason to be confident in The Destroyer. In Black’s past films, the director has combined sly humor with inventive action and suspense, and the mix should serve him well on this project.
If you recall, Black was already involved with writing and directing Doc Savage, another old-school pulp actioner, for Sony. Obviously, his collaborators at the studio felt his skill-set made him an ideal fit for The Destroyer as well.
Said producer Charles Roven, of Atlas Entertainment:
“Shane has been a fan of the original Destroyer book series since its inception and he has an incredible vision for this film. [We] couldn’t be more fortunate to be working with this talented director on this material. The narrative Jim and James have created is incredibly rich and while it’s a story rooted in adventure, it is also very much character driven.”
Added Columbia Pictures production president Michael De Luca, who is also producing:
“The Destroyer is a two-fisted classic and deserves no less than the genius of Shane Black. We couldn’t be more excited about his vision for this character.”
Seeing as Doc Savage has been in development for longer, one might expect that film to come first, but it’s currently unclear whether Sony will fast-track The Destroyer.