Shane Black and “Iron Man 3” — a non-story worth mentioning

You guys have no idea how incredibly tired I am of stories about actors, directors, or writers “circling,” “eying” or even negotiating a given project. Still, sometimes an entertainment writer’s gotta do what an entertainment writer’s gotta do.

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Tonight’s big story a possible example of what Hollywood always loves: the big comeback. In this case, Shane Black, the onetime highest paid scriptwriter in Hollywood, creator of the “Lethal Weapon” franchise at age 24, and writer-director of the charming, critically praised, highly imperfect, 2005 culty money-loser, “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” is reportedly in the running to write and direct “Iron Man 3,” obviously one of the bigger projects being tossed around right now.

Despite what seemed like a charmed career early on, Black’s life has never been easy. Moreover, his comeback since 2005 has been a mixed bag at best. Aside from the box office failure of his nevertheless widely liked directorial debut, he’s also had what appears to be the mother of all bad break-ups, the kind that gets you into TMZ, and probably the less I say about that, the better for everyone. Of course, the fact that “Kiss Kiss” starred Robert Downey, Jr. at a time when his own career and reputation badly needed a boost may not have hurt him getting this new gig. The movie made a pittance, but in terms of restoring Downey’s then very shaky credibility in Hollywood, it was priceless. Also, the notoriously penny-pinching Marvel may like the idea of using a talented filmmaker in need of a big break in terms of those negotiations.

I hope it happens and that it goes well. Despite the bad press in 2009, Black is certainly one of the better liked people in the geekier quarters of Hollywood, makes a great, unusually candid interview subject, and, though he has yet to create his true masterpiece, is clearly a talented and bright creator. I’m hoping this one takes.

After the flip, a moment or two of flawed genius from “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”

  

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