Robert Downey Jr. will be working once again with “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” and “Iron Man 3” filmmaker Shane Black, although this time to play a character who is markedly less charming than Tony Stark.
Downey Jr. and Black are teaming up on a new film for Amazon Studios based on the character Parker, created by author Donald E. Westlake (writing under the pseudonym Richard Stark). Black is co-writing the screenplay with Anthony Bagarozzi (“The Nice Guys”) and Chuck Mondry (“The Cold Warrior”), TheWrap has learned from a source close to the project.
In addition to this new movie, Downey Jr. and Black will develop a series of film and TV projects based on Westlake’s novels.
The character of Parker first appeared in the 1962 novel “The Hunter,” where he’s introduced as a professional thief who’s left for dead by a past associate and spends the rest of the novel trying to track down his former accomplice. The book was adapted to film twice before, in 1967’s “Point Blank” starring Lee Marvin and in 1999’s “Payback” starring Mel Gibson. Most recently, Jason Statham played the character in the 2013 film “Parker.”
The character of Parker is something of an anti-hero with a hard-edge, a murderous and meticulous criminal who is the protagonist of 24 novels by Westlake.
Joel Silver will produce the film and Downey Jr. and Susan Downey will produce for Team Downey, with Marc Toberoff also producing. Ezra Emanuel will co-produce.
Downey Jr. and Black first worked together on Black’s acclaimed 2005 noir “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” which in part helped resurrect Downey’s career following his struggles with substance abuse. Downey Jr. has credited Black and “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” with helping land him on Marvel’s radar for 2008’s “Iron Man,” which of course launched the actor onto another rung of superstardom. Downey returned the favor, of sorts, by hiring Black to co-write and direct 2013’s “Iron Man 3.”
Since his character’s demise in “Avengers: Endgame,” Downey has largely laid low, with 2020’s “Dolittle” serving as his only onscreen role since departing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He also produces the HBO series “Perry Mason” through his Team Downey banner.
Black, meanwhile, most recently co-wrote and directed 2018’s “The Predator.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
This news was originally reported in Matthew Belloni’s What I’m Hearing newsletter at Puck.