Everybody loves Shane Black now that we’ve all seen Iron Man 3. Some of us loved him even before then though, due to another little film that starred Robert Downey Jr. entitled Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If you have seen that film – and if you haven’t, go rent it now – then you know that Shane Black is all about pulp fiction and neo-noir. So it’s no surprise that his next project Doc Savage is right in that vein.
Doc Savage, for those that don’t know, was a 1930/40s pulp fiction hero with nearly superhuman abilities – he was a physician, explorer, inventor, master of disguise and martial arts, among other things. He’s basically a superhero without the benefit of alien parentage or nuclear mutation. The pulp stories sound very ‘boy’s own adventure’ and Doc Savage (real name Clark Savage Jr.) has been compared to the Shadow, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.
What better character for a Shane Black film, right? Recently, the director spoke with Collider about Doc Savage, confirming that he plans to maintain the original setting:
We’re shooting it as though it’s in the 30s, including all the Capra-esque elements of 1930s films like You Can’t Take It With You.
Black’s Doc Savage will be something like a Jimmy Stewart character turned action hero. As Black puts it, ‘the abilities of a killing machine and the soul of a pacifist.’ Given that Stewart himself was a war hero, I can see what he’s going for.
Black also seems intent on maintaining the spirit of the source material:
Doc Savage is a personal film to me. It’s a 1930s pulp character so it hasn’t been around for 75 years or so, but people if they’re introduced to it they’ll get to know, hopefully, what I came to love as a kid. I’ve read those series for 43 years and always wanted to figure out how to crack it.
Doc Savage sounds like an intriguing idea, a sort of dashing and more human counterpoint to the overblown superhero films of today. With Superman blithely killing people off left, right and center, and Batman brooding over his own violence, it will be nice to see a hero with more than a touch of proper humanity.
Doc Savage will be Black’s next film, although there is no set timetable just yet. We’ll be interested to see who Black casts to play the good doctor.