9.2.14 update: All good to go; the film opens June 17th, 2016.
Eight long years passed between Shane Black‘s first film as director, the sublime “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and his second. But given that his second was Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” a billion-dollar global hit, it seemed unlikely that a similar length of time would pass again before the “Lethal Weapon” and “Last Boy Scout” scribe got to make a third. Black was attached to a new film version of pulp hero “Doc Savage” for a while, but things have been quiet on that front for a bit. Fortunately, it seems like Black has something firm lined up, and might have some solid A-list talent circling the project.
According to The Wrap, Black is intending to direct an original script called “The Nice Guys,” which he wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi a while back (the pair staged a reading of the script at the Austin Film Festival back in October 2011). Now, though, it’s set up at Joel Silver‘s production company, and the site says that Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are being pursued to star.
Set in 1970s L.A., it involves an ex-alcoholic muscle-for-hire called Jackson Healy (Crowe, perhaps?), and a still-alcoholic private eye called Holland March (presumably Gosling), whose paths cross when a porn star commits suicide, only for the girl’s aunt to come to them believing she’s still alive, which eventually turns into a conspiracy involving air pollution and the automobile industry.
It sounds very much up Black’s street and not unlike “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and the idea of Crowe and Gosling getting to play with the writer-director’s dialogue is a hugely enticing one. But it’s worth noting that the trades increasingly jump the gun when it comes to the involvement of big-name talent in a project like this, and representatives for the actors say that neither actor is attached, especially with Crowe needing to plug his directorial debut “The Water Diviner” in the near future. Still, we wouldn’t be shy about saying that we really hope this comes to pass, because the cast and the project sound very much up our street.