Robert Downey Jr and Shane Black Will Reunite For ‘Parker’ Movie
It’s long forgotten by most people now, but Robert Downey Jr.’s career was at a very low ebb in the early 2000s. Repeated drug problems and run-ins with the law made him all but unhireable in Hollywood for a few years. Downey’s comeback began in the mid-2000s, when one of the first directors to give him a lead role again was Shane Black. He cast the actor in his quirkly noir comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. More roles followed and a few years later, Downey became Iron Man. A few years after that, Downey returned the favor when Black was hired to direct Iron Man 3.
That tandem hasn’t reteamed since then, but they are apparently working on a new project together for the years time in several years. TheWrap reports that Downey and Black will reunite for “a new film for Amazon Studios based on the character Parker, created by author Donald E. Westlake.” Black will co-write the screenplay with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry.
The Parker character — a meticulous and efficient career criminal — has been adapted to film several times before. In 1967, Lee Marvin played Parker (renamed Walker) in John Boorman’s stylish crime thriller Point Blank. That same story, based on Westlake’s novel The Hunter, was remade decades later as Payback starring Mel Gibson. (In that version, the character was known as “Porter”). The most recent Parker film was, appropriately, Parker, starring Jason Statham as the title character in an adaptation of Westlake’s novel Flashfire. TheWrap’s report didn’t specify whether this new project is based on a specific Westlake novel, or a new story featuring the Parker character.
Downey tends to play more talkative characters than Parker — and Black’s speciality is quipping buddies in action comedies. So in that sense it’s kind of a strange fit all the way around. But Black and Downey made some good movies together, and it’s good news to see them working together again.