Parker movie news and thoughts

Update: Variety describes the project as “”a series of movie and television projects adapted from Donald E. Westlake’s ‘Parker’ crime fiction series.”

Original post (slightly edited) below.


Some interesting news broke about a week ago concerning a new Parker movie project. Here is as much as we know:

  • It will be directed and cowritten by Shane Black, shown above in action-figure form as his character in Predator, because why not?
  • Anthony Bagarozzi, Black’s cowriter on The Nice Guys (which I loved), will be the other cowriter.
  • It will star Robert Downey, Jr., who previously worked with Black on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
  • Joel Silver is producing.
  • It will be from Amazon Studios.

And that’s the sum of it.

I can add a little here.

The first thing is, don’t get your hopes up.

While, given the players involved, this getting off the ground seems reasonably likely, nothing in the world of Hollywood is assured until the movie hits the screen.

Take Shane Black, for example. In the past several years he has tried to launch a Doc Savage movie, a movie based on Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir’s Destroyer series of men’s adventure novels, and an animated series based on James Mullaney’s Crag Banyon series of comic-fantasy detective novels. I looked forward to all of these, and none of them happened (although the Crag Banyon news was recent enough that I suppose that could still be happening).

Pointing this out is not meant to be disrespectful to Mr. Black. Getting this stuff off the ground is hard.

Which brings us to producer Joel Silver.

This isn’t Joel’s first rodeo with Parker. Around the turn of the millennium, his name was attached to an adaptation of The Green Eagle Score. John Travolta was rumored for the Parker role. A screenplay was written by Alexander Ignon, whose best-known credit is the Mel Gibson vehicle Ransom.

It, like Black’s Destroyer and Doc Savage projects, didn’t go anywhere.

So I’m hesitant to get too much into what I think of the whole thing when this might be the last anyone hears of it.

But I’ll do a little bit of that anyway.

I like very much that it’s Shane Black who is interested in trying to put Parker on the screen again. I’m certain he knows the books well, just as he knows Doc Savage, the Destroyer, and Crag Banyon. And I’m also certain he loves them, just as he loves same.

It doesn’t follow for me that Black’s love of the novels means, This time they’ll do Parker right! I’m not sure you can do the taciturn, amoral thief from the novels “right” on film, at least not as a series, which is what I assume is planned here. Parker works on the printed page, but maybe just doesn’t on film.

Mind you, I would love to be proven wrong on this. And I sure would like to see them at least try. But I think changes to the character are likely inevitable. I just hope they’re not too extreme.

I’ve seen in various forums that a lot of people don’t like the casting of Downey. It looks to me as if people are picturing Downey playing Parker like Downey plays Tony Stark from the Marvel films.

While I wouldn’t like that approach, I doubt that’s what’s planned and I do not share this concern about Downey in general. Downey is top-notch actor and can play, and has played, more than Iron Man. If the goal is to portray Parker as he appears in the novels, I am confident Downey can do it.

Beyond that, what can I say but, Good luck to all involved! I’m rooting for you.