Black came aboard the project back in 2009 to co-write the screenplay, then was assigned to direct for Columbia in February of last year. It is rumored to be a period piece set in the ’30s, the era in which pulp magazines were enjoying vast popularity. Seems like a juicy gig for the pulp-loving Black’s exotic tastes.
In a chat with Comic Book Resources at last week’s Long Beach Comic Con, Black outlined the feasibility of the Man of Bronze bursting onto the big screen soon:
“If we do Doc Savage, the challenge is make it adult,” said Black. “I think that there are so few practitioners of action movies these days who are doing worthwhile stuff that it behooves me to try to weigh in and try to do the Raiders Of The Lost Ark-type stuff, to try to recapture the magic. When I stood in line for a summer movie when I was coming up at eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old, I stood in line for two and a half, three hours and you got the goods! They delivered! And if they didn’t, you went outside and said, ‘Arg, Indiana Jones 2′ wasn’t that good, I stood in line for three hours!’ Now, you don’t know what you’re getting!“There’s just, I think, a decrease in the quality of these types of comic book action movies, and so it’s almost irresistible, sometimes, to try and shore that up a little, or weigh in at least with my opinion about what’s wrong and how it should be. It’s not the next thing I want to do. I want to do something more serious, a smaller movie at some point. I’m sure there’s a Winter’s Bone in my future. But for now, I’ve immersed myself in comics. I do want to do Doc Savage. The script is still evolving and I’m kind of busy, but I want to get it right and I want to do it.”
Doc Savage was first published in U.S. pulp magazines during the glory years of the ’30s and ’40s and was created by publisher Henry W. Ralston and editor John L. Nanovic. Lester Dent served as the beefy action hero’s main writer. Savage was a surgeon, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, musician and martial arts master. Raised from birth to fight crime and evil, he lived in an Empire State Building-like skyscraper and kept a secret frozen lair in the Arctic. The popular bare-chested badass would go on to appear in radio serials, film and comic books, and was reprinted for modern audiences in a series of paperbacks.
In 1975, a faithful but campy version hit Hollywood, titled Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze starring ex-Tarzan actor Ron Ely. Let’s hope Black’s rendition returns to the retro rawness and adventurous spirit infused in the original comics. Old-school heroes never die, they just keep swingin’.