Shane Black Talks Bringing Pulp Hero 'Doc Savage' to the Big Screen
Shortly after Iron Man 3 debuted this summer, we got word that director Shane Black was likely going to tackle the gestating adaptation of the pulp fiction hero Doc Savage from the 30s and 40s as his next film. But since then we haven't heard anything on the development of the project set up at Sony Pictures with a script from Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry and Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur (Green Hornet and Battle: Los Angeles) producing. Now Black has opened up a bit about the project in a recent interview with IGN, talking about how they're trying to approach the character and bring him to the big screen properly.
Black points out how Savage influenced some of the heroes we know today, but that wasn't enough:
"Obviously in the books there's an element of 'goody goody' that we like. Doc Savage was the basis essentially for Superman because his name is Clark, he has a fortress of solitude, and 'oh Superman has the same thing, that's odd.' But that kind of perfect hero who never makes mistakes him great to a point and that type of adventure and the pulp it represents has been so immitated. Raiders of the Lost Ark is essentially a child of Doc Savage. But we needed something more."
After all, John Carter was a book that influenced sci-fi films and series like Star Wars and Star Trek, but audiences didn't respond to the similarities in the story and universe when the film came out (though a big part of that was how the film was marketed). Black explains how they dove into the character and the story:
"We [decided to keep] it in the 30s, we beefed up the sort of rationale behind what it would take to be a perfect person and to be trained as such from childhood and how that would scar someone. And what it would take to be a parent who is capable of inflicting that on your kid. But beyond that we've also tried to be true to the series, give him the helpers and it's also reinvigorating it but introducing a whole new brand of people to this is a challenge. It's been around, it's been 75 years."
Now the question is who can fill the shoes of Doc Savage. From the sound of Black's talk, it doesn't sound like they're even close to figuring out that important detail. The director says:
"Here's the problem: They kind of gotta be tall. He's the perfect physical specimen and when people look at him, they're overawed by the sort of symmetry and perfection that he exudes. I don't know that you could use like James McAvoy as Doc Savage. You couldn't do it. He's a fine actor, but we need someone big. Back in the day Schwarzenegger was talked about to play Doc Savage. I don't know who we'd get."
The interviewer suggested Chris Hemsworth, to which Black said, "That's not a bad idea. What's he doing?" He'll likely be very busy continuing his work at Marvel, not to mention likely getting plenty more offers once Ron Howard's racing drama Rush starts hitting theaters. As of now, we're not sure when Doc Savage will get off the ground, and there's no release date set, so there isn't necessarily a rush just yet. Stay tuned.