Shane Black Tackles ‘Doc Savage’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 1:40 pm,

doc savage Shane Black Tackles Doc Savage

It has taken quite a few years, but it looks like Columbia Pictures might finally be bringing pulp hero Doc Savage back to the big screen.  The man charged with this near-impossible task is none other than Lethal Weapon creator and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang writer/director, Shane Black.

A Doc Savage film has been kicking around Hollywood since the late 1990s, and at one point it was being tooled as a starring vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger – but his move into politics seemed to put an end to the film. However, now producer Neil Moritz has signed the Austrian Oak’s Predator co-star, Shane Black, to write and direct the film (he’ll be scripting along with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry).

Who is Doc Savage,  I hear some of you asking?

“One of the most popular characters in the pulps of the 1930s and ’40s, Doc Savage was also popularized on radio, film and TV. Trained since birth to be nearly superhuman in every way, Doc Savage uses his skills and powers to fight evil all over the world.”

Columbia Pictures co-president Matt Tolmach seems pretty excited about the film (well, it is a possible franchise). He said:

“Doc Savage is an icon, a character with limitless possibilities. We have had a great experience working with Neal to bring another classic character of the era, the Green Hornet, to a new generation of fans, and we think he and Shane make the ideal team to bring Doc Savage back to the big screen.”

docsavage Shane Black Tackles Doc Savage

No actor has yet been cast as the scientist/physician/adventurer/inventor/explorer/researcher.

Doc Savage seems like the ideal property  for a Hollywood Studio – think Indiana Jones, Batman and James Bond rolled into one. It’s probably making Columbia bean counters drool at the mouth in anticipation of the profits. The character was last  brought to the screen in 1975, in an ultra-camp adventure film.

Now, I know that you folks have two questions rattling around in your heads!

1. Who will they get to play Doc Savage?

2. How will this affect Black’s Mel Gibson starrer Cold Warrior (also being penned Bagarozzi and Mondry)?

I’d love to see Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang star Val Kilmer bring Savage to the screen. He’s got the  presence, the stature and the hair coloring to carry it off (after a bit of gym time) and I’d love to see Kilmer back on the A-list like his Kiss Kiss co-star Robert Downey Jr. I’m a realist though, and I know it’ll probably go to someone like Chris Pine or Bradley Cooper.

kilmer1 Shane Black Tackles Doc Savage

As for question number two? As it is only in the scripting stage, Doc Savage shouldn’t affect Black’s re-team with Gibson.

Now, I’m throwing it over to you guys – who would you like to see play Doc Savage?

Source: Variety

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  1. I'll probably get laughed at for suggesting this, but I think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would make a great Doc Savage. He's got the physique for it and I think he's a better actor than he's usually given credit for. This could potentially give him a really cool franchise and maybe rescue him from some of these garbage movies he's done lately.

  2. Val Kilmer would be terrific…if he was in shape. He's been rather “pudgy” lately.

  3. The Rock doesn't really look like the character.

  4. Nothing a few months in the gym wouldn't sort out for Kilmer.

    My second choice would be Thomas Jane – he needs a solid franchise before he's passed over for a younger model. It's also his sort of genre material.

  5. Possibly. I think he would need more than a few months in the gym to get into doc savage shape. Plus he's up there in age, not sure if he has the motivation. But then again, movie magic has done miracles in the past…

    Great choice with Jane! Very underrated actor and a great presence on screen. This role or even Captain America would suit him pretty well. Plus he's definitely in shape.

  6. With regards to Kilmer – I think that age might be what the character needs – when Schwarzenegger was in the frame for the part he was over 50!

    As for Jane – I think he's great – even in substandard material. I saw the Mutant Chronicles recently. While it's not great – he is very good (and the film has some good visuals, for its low budget!).

  7. What are you talking about? The Rock is rather muscular and bronze. Bleach the guy's hair and he's practically a James Bama cover come-to-life.

  8. Haha I thought I was the only one that enjoyed Mutant Chronicles. Anything with Pearlman, I'll watch it. Jane was great in it.

  9. Pearlman's accent was a bit odd. I think it was Northern Irish- I'm not sure- and I'm from Northern Ireland!!

    • Pearlman is an Aussy I believe. He’s got the physique for the role but he’s too weather beaten. I think Kilmer is just right..buffed up accordingly of course. Being a natural blonde helps of course. I am a fan of the previous film incarnation of the character and I REALLY, REALLY hope they take the same “camp-humour” route, but then I am a Brit so I like that kind of thing anyway.

      • Perlman for Monk! But you could have a problem of size versus other players.

  10. I won't deny that he's built well enough, but he would look hilarious with blond hair. The original character is a white guy. Although maybe enough time has gone by that people aren't familiar enough with the character and they might be able to take some liberties. Who knows.

    • I’ve read all but 25 of the books written by Lester Dent that Bantam printed. Though I’m not a “spring chicken” by any means, I was introduced to the Doc Savage stories by a guy I was going with at the time.
      I was NOT impressed with the “liberties” that they took with the first Doc Savage movie. Hopefully if they get this new Doc Savage movie off the ground they will be a little bit more true to the stories.
      Sorry, but I’m not sure if there is any actor who could really pull off being Doc Savage. The closest that they came to portraying Doc was Ron Ely, and I don’t really know of any other actor that could do it.

  11. Interesting…I did not notice but then again I'm not Northern Irish…I know what you mean though…every time someone does a Russian accent in an American movie or toasts “na zadrovie” my skin crawls a little at just how inaccurate and horrible it is (for the most part)

  12. I'm so happy somebody else is backing Val Kilmer for this! He's my favorite actor, and Shane Black got one of his best performances out of him. I think Val would be ultra motivated to work with Black again, and to be a starrer in something worthwhile. I think he could get back in shape easily, and the character looks a little older from the drawings I've seen lately. Val is easily one of the best actors of this generation, and he deserves to regain that. Thank you for proving I'm not the only one who sees this

    • Though I like Kilmer, I am not a fan of handing this franchise over to him so he can regain his status and be the star he deserves to be. Need to be a little smarter in casting this with some one on the upswing.

  13. I'd love to see Val Kilmer take the role of Doc Savage, because he's got the personality to carry off this kind of role, and Shane Black got an awesome performance out of him in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (which is one of all-time favorite movies).

    So I wholeheartedly agree with the other posters about seeing Kilmer in the role.

  14. what about Rowan Atkinson?….You know, Mr Bean.

    • In Biblical terminology, I sayeth “Bite thy tongue!”

    • For Monk??? I think he could pull it off.

  15. Oh I'm definitely in the Val Kilmer camp on this one! Shane Black got a fantastic performance from him in KKBB and I would love to see them work together again. And Val has always been able to get into the shape needed for a film if he has been really keen to do it. It's about time we got another good film from him instead of the straight to video ones of late. Not that I haven't appreciated his performances in most of them.

  16. Please, no more Val Kilmer. The only thing he's ever done that I cared for was the Spartan. Anything you would want to cast Kilmer for, cast Brad Pitt instead, and you'll get more star power, better acting, buffer, sexier body, and frankly, much better acting chops. Enough with the Val Kilmer, already.

  17. I'd love to see Val return to the big screen in a big way. He wasn't that bad a Batman either. But he'd definitely have to hit the weights.

  18. While it is a shame that Kevin Sorbo, in his prime, didn't get a chance to play the original Man of Bronze, I agree that Dwayne Johnson would be an awesome choice for Doc. He has the build, the sense of humor and the comedy and acting chops to do it.

    But who would play Monk Mayfair?

  19. The original pulp Doc has coppery-colored hair, not the platinum blond that Steve Holland is shown with on the 1960s paperback reprints (or in the new Doc Savage comics from DC).

  20. I think Kilmer would be perfect for this role and with Black directing, great idea.

  21. I think Kilmer would be perfect for this role and with Black directing, great idea.

  22. Please, no more Val Kilmer. The only thing he's ever done that I cared for was the Spartan. Anything you would want to cast Kilmer for, cast Brad Pitt instead, and you'll get more star power, better acting, buffer, sexier body, and frankly, much better acting chops. Enough with the Val Kilmer, already.

  23. I'd love to see Val return to the big screen in a big way. He wasn't that bad a Batman either. But he'd definitely have to hit the weights.

  24. While it is a shame that Kevin Sorbo, in his prime, didn't get a chance to play the original Man of Bronze, I agree that Dwayne Johnson would be an awesome choice for Doc. He has the build, the sense of humor and the comedy and acting chops to do it.

    But who would play Monk Mayfair?

  25. The original pulp Doc has coppery-colored hair, not the platinum blond that Steve Holland is shown with on the 1960s paperback reprints (or in the new Doc Savage comics from DC).

  26. I think Kilmer would be perfect for this role and with Black directing, great idea.

  27. This is a tough cast. It needs the muscles but it needs the acting too. If John Cena were a better actor he'd fit the bill. Val Kilmer? I don't see it. Brad Pitt is close but I think his celebrity would overshadow the movie. Probably best to go for an unknown stage actor who has one of those commanding voices they seem to develope.

  28. As a long time Doc fan, I would be TOTALLY disappointed with Val Kilmenr. While I grew up with the Bama Doc, I see a blend of that with the original pulp Doc as being needed. I can see the Rock playing the part well. Doc is a coppery toned skin color at home in the tropics. Years ago I could have seen Howie Long in the role. Monk will be the hardest to cast. Can’t say I’ve seen an actor who can be mistaken for an ape in Hollywood ;).

  29. Well, I definitely want a Doc Savage movie, as I always enjoyed the old pulp novels of Doc. Kilmer, however, while not the worst actor I have ever seen, (nor the best, either) does not fit for Doc–not the face, not the mannerisms. We need someone more serious, just a tad “darker” in mannerisms, someone more stoic. I have no-one in mind right now, however, but this actor would need alot of thought and study, whoever would be poicked. He would also have to lok good painted broze!
    Anyone out there heard any more on whether this movie is moving forwards? Please post any info updates you may have!

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