Shane Black, who made his reputation writing Lethal Weapon for producer Joel Silver and Warner Bros., has decided that he’s not too old for this shit.
After striking it big again as a director of last summer’s Iron Man 3, Black has re-partnered with Silver and Warner Bros. for a project he co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi titled The Nice Guys. And he’s landed some pretty nice guys to play the two L.A. detectives investigating the mysterious suicide of a 1970s porn star: Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.
In June, the Wrap initially reported that the long-in-development project was falling into place, and sources close to it now confirm that the major principals are attached, and Warners has acquired the rights. Black and Bararozzi brought their script to the 2011 Austin Film Festival, where they staged a live reading with Thomas Jane and Peter Weller. The plot synopsis then:
“In smoggy 1970s Los Angeles, Jackson Healy (muscle-for-hire, recovering alcoholic) and Holland March (private eye, practicing alcoholic) are brought together by the suicide of a fading porn star. Problem is, the dead girl’s aunt is convinced she saw her niece alive and well, after the highly publicized incident. March needs money, takes the case, and within days, it’s blossomed into a far-reaching murder conspiracy, bizarrely rooted in smog and the U.S. auto industry.”
Presumably, Crowe will play Healy, with Gosling portraying March. Both actors have an affection for dark L.A. tales, with Crowe making his Hollywood bones as Bud White in L.A. Confidential and Gosling playing a conflicted cop in Gangster Squad. The Nice Guys is set in a different decade, but there are similar mood and thematic elements.
Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.