When you think of L.A,’s great noir writers, Shane Black’s name may not come to mind. But it should.
As Edgar Wright said before introducing him at the New Beverly Cinema last week, Black is “underappreciated, but certainly not underpaid,” referring in part to his million dollar pay day for the screenplay of “The Last Boy Scout,” which began a double feature celebrating his work. Both “Boy Scout” and the film that followed “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” are modern day noir films making extensive use of Los Angeles locations, with deeply flawed private investigators as its protagonists. “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” not only written by Black but also his directorial debut, goes one step further using titles of Raymond Chandler stories as chapter breaks throughout the movie.
(The screenplay that put Black on the map, “Lethal Weapon,” arguably also fits within the noir genre, with a suicidal LAPD detective as one of its heroes. And on a side note, both “Weapon” and “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” are set during Christmas time in Los Angeles.)
In this podcast from the Shane Black double feature, part of “The Wright Stuff Film Festival” at the New Beverly Cinema, Black talks candidly with Edgar Wright about no longer being the screenwriter flavor of month, getting botox in his mid-forties, casting a temporarily subdued Val Kilmer and an eternally humbled Robert Downey, Jr., and how a disgruntled studio exec is responsible for “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’s” commercial failure.
…photo of Shane Black (c) 2005 WireImage.com, via iMDB…