Shane Black Is Back Back Back!

He's directing spy movie, Cold Warrior

Regular readers of Empire will know that this correspondent thinks Shane Black is a motherfrickin’ genius. Not only is he the guy who wrote the action classics, Lethal Weapon (and most of its equally great sequel), and The Last Boy Scout, he was Hawkins in Predator and, just for good measure, made a stunning directorial debut in 2005 with the hilarious Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

And that’s been pretty much it. For Black is anything but prolific. However, he surfaced earlier this year, much to everyone’s surprise, to hand in a draft for a proposed Lethal Weapon 5.

And now he’s gearing up to direct once more. Yet here’s another surprise: he won’t be directing his own script.

Instead, Cold Warrior will be based on a script by Chuck Mondry. But the synopsis reads like pure Black, as it teams a retired Cold War spy with a young buck in an attempt to thwart a domestic terrorism threat orchestrated by – gulp! – Russia. (And how good to see that recent occurences have meant that Russia can once again be used as the bad guys in Hollywood movies)

Black has, as a screenwriter and director, specialised in not only making buddy relationships work by injecting them with caustic and eminently quotable humour, but also in taking archetypes – the cop on the edge, the wisecracking, dishevelled P.I. – and making them into something grand and mythic. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do with the spy.

The Universal picture, which we’re guessing will go before the cameras relatively soon, will be produced by Michelle Manning, David Greenblatt and Anthony Bagarozzi. The latter wrote Tick-Tock (which remains unproduced) with Chuck Mondry in 2000 and sold it to Sony for $1 million… so Black, who sold The Long Kiss Goodnight for roughly more money than an AIG bail-out, clearly recognised kindred spirits. And we, for one, can’t wait for this.