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.” Read the rest of this entry »

  

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It’s quite possibly the last end of the week movie news dump of 2010!

Things are supposed to quiet down as far as big movie news is concerned for the next couple of weeks, so enjoy these little draps and drabs of movie news from the last week while you can…

* It’s not quite on the level of finding a mysterious monolith on the moon but it comes close. AICN has it that EFX pioneer genius Douglas Trumbull has said that 17 minutes of lost outtakes from Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001: A Space Odyssey” have been found in a salt mine in Kansas. It’s important to remember this story, such as it is, originates from a message board and perhaps isn’t the best sourced item to ever hit the ‘nets. But what better place to store outtakes than a salt mine in Kansas? A pepper mill in Encino?

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* Since the story’s been out since the beginning of the week, by now you’ve no doubt heard the news that Jon Favreau has walked away from “Iron Man 3” in what we’re being assured was an entirely amicable split motivated primarily by his desire to make the Disneyland themed “Magic Kingdom.” As a lifelong Southern Californian and a current resident in good standing of the city of Anaheim, I love the Happiest Place on Earth as much as the next guy. However, as the premise for a movie, I’m hugely skeptical and wondering just what it is that is getting people of the caliber of Favreau and Guillermo del Toro on board with this these theme-parked based projects. (I’m much less skeptical of the Fincher “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” because, well, it’s based on a beloved book of my childhood as well as a pretty cool Disney flick, not a ride.)

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Monday night at the movies, the post TCM Fest edition.

I’m recovering from the fest and doing other stuff as well, so I’m going to try and keep things fairly short tonight.

* The non-extra initial Blu-Ray/DVD release of “Avatar” has, guess what, done very, very well.

* Thanks, Hef! He saves the world for heavily retouched naked women, pays writers more than just about anybody, and now he ponies up the missing funds to save the Hollywood sign.

* One item I don’t actually have to link to report on is that the TCM Classic Film Festival is going to be back next year, with the idea of being an annual event. I can do that because I was present at last night’s big screening of “Metropolis” where none other than Robert Osborne announced it to the assembled multitudes at the more beautiful than ever Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

What was interesting about the way this festival was marketed is that people who live in Los Angeles were clearly not the primary target. Individual ticket prices were roughly double what film geeks like myself are used to paying to see similar presentations — actually more than double when you consider that most repertory programs are actually double bills. With the exception of fellow press and a USC film student who had picked up one of thirty free tickets that has been donated, everyone I spoke to was from elsewhere, and usually a place where the opportunity to see such frequently revived cinematic warhorses as “Casablanca” and “Some Like it Hot” on the big screen are nevertheless beyond rare.

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