The Nice Guys Shane Black Interview

Lethal Weapon legend Shane Black sits down in London to talk about his latest 70′s set buddy film The Nice Guys, pairing Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling

So let’s start with how the film came to being made?

For me the sort of bone-deep kind of DNA of this thing started when I raided my father’s bookshelf when I was a kid. I had a friend, Anthony Bagarozzi my writing partner, and together the two of us decided there weren’t enough private eye movies, not enough old-school, tough guy sorts. So we set out to write this movie, sharing characters – which isn’t how you can write a film – and we came up with something over the years that in various variations managed to fall upward, got the right actors and 13 years later you have The Nice Guys. We are actually quite happy with the result.

A lot of the films you’ve made are set at Christmas, The Nice Guys it is set in October, any reason it isn’t set at Christmas?

The idea is, I had various reasons for setting things at Christmas but the one thing I didn’t want to do is keep doing it once people noticed, because it was my little delicious secret and had meaning for me. Then questions like this one…

There are some brilliant surreal moments within the film, specifically the bees. How do you have that first sketch meeting and introduce such a surreal, brilliant concept?

Here is the good news where that is concerned. The pitch consists of a man, Joel Silver, if I can convince him (laughter). He would look at me sometimes and be like, what? But he gets on board and we have a similar sensibility that goes back 30 years. Even after I had done a very successful film, Iron Man 3, afforded an opportunity to do something with it I went back to Joel. Joel who I have enjoyed my best financial, no that’s not true (laughter)…

What was it like to work with the younger cast?

We can’t say enough about this little girl, I confess I have read a few reviews and they mention her. I went to her and said “are you aware of the press you are getting, you stole the movie”, and she said “I haven’t really read…really?” She doesn’t even know she is good, she is just this wonderful, guileless little girl and God bless us we found her when we did.

You have alluded to the fact that if this film is as fantastically successful as we know it should and will be, you have some quite specific ideas for where you might like to take the characters forward?

All I can say, as I have a bit of canoodling to do on that actually, I love this idea of a sort of time-locked franchise, which means it will never catch up to us. So the sequel will be something in the 80s on an issue of that era, so we can throw these guys up against that wall and see what sticks. I think a fun idea is a timeless private eye who proceeds through a series of historical in incidents but will never get to the present day.

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