(born December 16, 1961) is an American screenwriter, director, producer and actor. Starting as a minor actor in the 1980s, Black's first breakthrough came about when he penned Lethal Weapon
, selling it for approximately $250,000 at age 22; come the early 1990s, he was one of highest paid screenwriters in America. Heading on to make a few Cult Classic
movies, Black first struck his peak when he recently wrote and directed Iron Man 3
, which ended up as the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.note
Notable for his Deadpan Snarker
characters and Lemony Narrators
, most of Black's works often overlap with themes found in noir
fiction; failing that, you can expect a gratuitous genre mix
or No Fourth Wall
, if not both. In order, some of his notable works are:
In addition to the above, Black is currently signed on to write and direct three movies: the next Predator sequel
(still without a title); The Nice Guys
, a Film Noir Black Comedy
starring Ryan Gosling
and Russell Crowe
; and Doc Savage
, an adventure movie based on pulp magazines
Tropes associated with Shane Black and his works:
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Many movies written or co-written by Black involve home attacks (The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, the first two films in the Lethal Weapon series, and perhaps most famously in Iron Man 3). Lethal Weapon 2 in particular contains several examples.
- An Asskicking Christmas: As of yet, five of his movies (and one abandoned script) are set at Christmas.
- Anti-Hero tropes galore: Good Is Not Nice, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Knight in Sour Armor, Mr. Vice Guy, Politically Incorrect Hero.
- Buffy Speak: As note by Black, characters don't "...wait for their gags to be registered and applauded. They just chuck them out as they go along."
- The Cameo: Black appears in the Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter (released with Iron Man 3) as the "Disembodied Voice".
- Cerebus Syndrome: Expect wacky scenes and humorous interactions amid all the murder and death.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Expect the protagonist to be "zip tied to a bed" or worse.
- Dialogue Reversal: And reversals in general (especially during fights in which the Advantage Ball changes hands often).
- Executive Meddling: Black only co-wrote Lethal Weapon 2, as he was apparently booted after partly writing the script; Black was intent on killing off Riggs for drama, but the producers insisted on an Executive Veto to make more sequels.
- Lemony Narrator: In both his movies and his scripts; for example, from the Lethal Weapon script:
EXT. POSH BEVERLY HILLS HOME - TWILIGHT
The kind of house that I'll buy if this movie is a huge hit. Chrome. Glass. Carved wood. Plus an outdoor solarium: A glass structure, like a greenhouse only there's a big swimming pool inside. This is a really great place to have sex.
- MacGyvering: In addition to overcoming physical and emotional challenges, protagonists are often forced to think fast and live by their wits.
- Mood Whiplash: As noted in an interview:
Violence and action should suddenly punctuate perfectly normal circumstances. Take the moment when the house explodes in Lethal Weapon: these two guys, who we've already established are a pair of plodding cops, wander up to the building and suddenly, boom! The explosion was immense but it was the only thing of that scale in the entire movie. It was supposed to be shocking and wild and sudden. You could see the protagonists were scared by it. Often, those moments are just stretched out for too long.
- No Fourth Wall: As with Lemony Narrator, expect a narrator aware that he's narrating a movie.
- Quotes Fit for a Trailer: "I'm too old for this sh*t." "I'm in the PTA." "I just like the name. Can't shake it." "Play some rap music." "In this world, the bad guys can win." "You'll never see me coming."
- The Reveal: Things are rarely how they initially seem.
- Rule of Drama: Frequent.
- Stuff Blowing Up: All his movies reliably "pay the rent" by providing escalating action including the Final Battle against the Climax Boss.
- Supervillain Lair: Often the site of Cold-Blooded Torture and/or the target of Storming the Castle.