I love pulp stories (and no, those aren’t tales about buying the wrong orange juice), which is why I’m seriously looking forward to the feature film adaptation of pulp era hero Doc Savage. Well, that and the fact that the man behind said adaptation is Shane Black, writer of such action classics as Lethal Weapon, Long Kiss Goodnight and The Last Boy Scout (so you know that he knows all about macho) and most recently the director of the fifth highest grossing film of all time in Iron Man 3.
Black has previously spoken about his ideas for the film, and now we can hear exactly what his vision is for the bronze-skinned hero himself.
Chatting to IGN Movies, Black explained how they’re trying to keep some of the sensibilities from the original stories from the 1930’s and 40’s, but still making it all work for a modern audience.
“Obviously in the books, there’s an element of goodie-goodie that we like. Doc Savage was the basis essentially for Superman because his name is Clark and he has a Fortress of Solitude, and oh, Superman has the same thing…that’s odd! But that kind of perfect hero who never makes mistakes is great to a point, and the type of adventure and pulp it represents is so imitated; Raiders of the Lost Ark is essentially a child of Doc Savage.
We needed something more cerebral. We’ve kept it in the 30s. We’ve beefed up the rationale behind what it would take to be the perfect person and to be trained as such from childhood and how that would scar someone and what it would take to be a parent who is capable of inflicting that on a kid. But beyond that, we’re also trying to be true to the series. Give him the helper, while also reinvigorating it and introducing a whole new brand of people to this is a challenge because it’s been around for 75 years.”
While I would have thought that somebody like Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Jumanji, Captain America: The First Avenger ) would be a more natural choice to bring this character to life, Black – beside for being a phenomenal screenwriter – does hold the advantage of being a massive Doc Savage fan himself.
“I’ve read all of them. I love them. I read my first one 45 years ago. I love Doc Savage and hope everyone comes to see it.”
One of the challenges of getting people to turn up to see it, will of course be which actor’s face will be adorning the posters, and casting an actor to play a so-called “physically perfect” hero is no small matter. Black does like one suggestion, who’s already made his name playing a god, so “perfect” should be easy for him.
“Here’s the problem. They kind of gotta be tall. He’s the perfect physical specimen and when people look at him, they’re overawed by the sort of symmetry and perfection he exudes. I don’t know that you could use like a James McAvoy as Doc Savage. You couldn’t do it. He’s a fine actor, but we need someone big. Back in the day Schwarzenegger was talked about to play Doc Savage. I don’t know yet; who do you think? [Chris Hemsworth?] That’s not a bad idea! You need someone magnetic and someone a little bit off because that’s the fun of the character. He’s been secluded from people and kept from any social niceties for so long that he’s become a savant.”
I actually think that Hemsworth could make for a very cool Doc Savage. In fact, I really cannot think of another well established actor who actually meets the criteria as well as he does. Now if only he would go all Jersey Shore on a sunbed, and style his normal “surfer dude” locks into a ginger widow’s peak that looks like it was carved from stone, then we could have better idea of his eligibility for the role.
Last Updated: September 19, 2013