I’ve seen the rumors circulating around the web that Iron Man 3 director, Shane Black, is eying Doc Savage as his next film, and I’m not sure how to feel about that.
On the one hand, as much as I love Doc Savage, the character and universe are firmly set in the pre-nuclear age, and every recent attempt to tell a Doc Savage story with a modern twist has fallen flat. Even the Ron Ely/George Pal version in 1975 was lacking (mainly because of the studio than everything else), so I’m a little gun shy about reports of another Doc Savage project in the works.
On the other hand, Black did a great job with Iron Man 3, and I have no doubt he could work with the right actors to bring the Man of Bronze to life. And if he did get to do Doc Savage, the next logical film for him to follow up on would be Turok: Son of Stone…
The other bonus to this is that Michael Uslan is listed as one of the producers for Doc Savage, and as the man behind bringing Batman to the big screen, and serving as executive producer of every Batman movie since (even Batman and Robin), I have a more positive outlook on the project. Black has signed to co-write the script with Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry.
Though the project has been kicked around H’wood since 2010, there is no scheduled release date, attached stars, budget numbers that have been thrown around.
I can’t help but wonder just how relevant a Doc Savage movie could be. Does anybody actually read Doc Savage books any more? Is there really a large enough Doc Savage fan base out there to justify such a movie? It would be a bit like making a Pogo movie. How many people out there are old enough to have read the Pogo comic books and newspaper strip. I suppose you could say the same thing about the James Bond franchise. Just try to find a copy of a James Bond book anywhere, and how many fans of the movies have ever read any of the books by Ian Fleming? There is a difference, though. The James Bond movie franchise managed to build up a following and thus a life and fan base of its own apart from the books. Doc Savage and others of that ilk have not. It’s a bit like making a Tarzan movie or, forgive me, a Lone Ranger movie. That ship already sailed a long time ago. And on the subject of the Lone Ranger movie, I saw a trailer and reviews when I went to Iron Man 3 last weekend, and the fact that it’s being billed as a comedic romp does not bode well. The Lone Ranger was never intended to be a comedy, so I fear we are going to have another “Wild Wild West” debacle on our hands.
As much as I’m a fan of Doc Savage and would love to see a good film made based off the character, I am dreading the idea of this being made. I have to agree that it is questionable how relevant the character could be made nowadays in film without having to alter him for the modern era. If they can actually pull it off, then more power to them but I seriously have my doubts.
I have to echo the sentiments of the two prior posters. Doc might be a property who’s time has come and gone. You have a serious problem with the premise, and a second equally big issue with the underlying theme that might well doom any attempt at faithfully capturing the spirit of the original character.
With the premise, you’re forced into a period piece which is both expensive to shoot and generally not in popular favor. In a more modern setting with rapid travel and communications, and modern geopolitics Doc doesn’t make sense anymore.
And the underlying ubermensch theme of the character is equally out of favor with modern sensibilities. It can also wander disturbingly close to some less egalitarian politics unless handled very, very carefully. A flawed hero is much more the norm today.
And frankly updating an IP to address either of these issues doesn’t make any sense, given that most movie goers don’t know or remember Doc anyway. Even at the height of his popularity, Doc only really resonated with pulp or comic fans, not the larger public the way say Robin Hood did. A tough sell for a major budget production unless some exec thinks it would make a great Adam Sandler vehicle…better to leave him semi-forgotten in that case.
well, the pulps have made a bit of a resurgance in the last few years,throw in some cool thirties swing and some steampunk and they can bring about a whole new crop of fans
Bout time, maybe make a Frank Reade / Jr. steampunk one.