Lethal Wimpin

In Empire Magazine, Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner (who, as I know all too well, once made the wrong choice about Lethal Weapon 3) recently showed that whatever understanding of Riggs and Murtaugh he may have initially had is now completely gone:

There was a fifth one that I would have loved to have made. Shane Black wrote another treatment, which I never saw… But we had a totally different story. The two crazies decide to cool their lives, but it’s impossible for them to stay out of situations. It starts with Riggs and Murtaugh out in the country in a motorhome. They’re on a trip and they stop to get gas, but Roger forgets to put the brake on. So the motorhome rolls through a village, annihilating everything, and they get in serious trouble…

Sure, Dick, you definitely showed in the latter films you know better than Shane. Heck, just cast Rob Schneider and Martin Lawrence instead of Gibson and Glover and go for it. Or better yet, just make Little Weapons  for Nickelodeon…

"I'm still too young for this poop!"

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Shane Black On The Writer And Fear

I’ve mentioned Shane Black a few times recently. A friend from years back, he’s also the screenwriter responsible for a few classic flicks, among them Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Recently, he’s been working on the script for the forthcoming Doc Savage movie.

So Shane knows what it’s like to put bread on the table (and in the bank) by typing words out of your head.

Writer Billy Mernit recently blogged about Shane’s visit to the “Writing the Character-Driven Screenplay” class that Billy’s in. Shane made some comments about writers and fear that are worth reading for anyone facing the sinister blank screen…

I know it’s tough to say, ‘Don’t be afraid,’ or ‘Think positive,’ but…There really is just no other way to go.  You’re up against a wall, you’ve decided you want to do something, you’re having some adversity – you can either play out your hand or quit.  And I suggest that… My career came down to one moment like that.

I was working on a script called Shadow Company in 1984, and I was on page one, and I showed it to my brother – he hated it.  I sat down and I thought, “I can’t do this.  I sat down to write a screenplay – I don’t know screenplays, what am I doing, this is so stupid… And I thought: I don’t want to write!  I don’t want to do this, I can’t.

I’m a one-finger typist.  And I said – Just do it.  [Shane holds his one typing forefinger in the air, and jabs it an invisible keyboard.] I went, ‘The… rain… lashes…  Ground… Bla-bla-blah.  I started typing – I hate this, I hate this, I hate this, I hate this – and all of a sudden, I’m: Huh, okay that’s a good line. What would he say there?  Okay, he says this… And three pages later, I had a scene, and it became a script – and it sold, optioned – and it got me Lethal Weapon.

It came down to this.  I had a piece of paper in a typewriter and my finger poised to hit one key and I couldn’t do it, I didn’t want to do it all.  All I wanted to do was stop.  And I hit the key.  And now I have a career.  So that’s the leap of faith.

The whole piece is here.

A Doc Savage Movie On The Way!!!

Doc-Savage-Ruben

Art by Ruben Procopio

It’s no secret that Doc Savage, Lester Dent’s pulp hero from the 1930s and 40s, is a huge inspiration for my own character, Dr. Spartacus Wilde (who saves the Earth from Lovecraftian batrachia in Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom). I grew up on paperback reprints of the Doc Savage novels and they, along with other pulp sources I’ve written about, are strong strands of my literary DNA.

In fact, Grandpa Wilde (Spartacus’s father), the original Doc Wilde who was famous in the thirties and forties, is my intertextual acknowledgment that the original hero is parent to the current hero, but also speaks to the fact that the younger Wilde is his own man. As similar as he is to Savage, he is also very different in ways, not least of which is that he is a warm, emotionally accessible family man, unlike the stern and remote man of bronze.

Unlike The Shadow, the only character more popular during the pulp era, Doc Savage isn’t very well known these days, though his influence on characters ranging from Batman to James Bond is widespread. But there are still quite a few fans, many having grown up on the same books I did. One of them is Shane Black. Continue reading