Those in the Grand Theatre Lumiere tomorrow night are in for a great, hysterical ride as Shane Black’s The Nice Guys makes its Cannes Film Festival premiere before hitting U.S./Canadian theaters on May 20.
Though set in 1970s Los Angeles when “the biggest difficulties were smog and porn” per the director, the film is a throwback to Black and producer Joel Silver’s great ’80s action comedy collaborations such as the Lethal Weapon series and The Last Boy Scout.
In The Nice Guys, Ryan Gosling plays greasy private detective Holland March, who pairs up with Russell Crowe’s bully debt collector Jackson Healy to find a young, missing porno star. But as most Hollywood noirs go, it’s more complex than that. In terms of banter, timing and riffing off of each other, you couldn’t ask for a better duo, and here in this video, the actors’ explain their attachment to the project.
Accompanying Jackson and Holland through the porn parties and dodging bullets is the latter’s precocious pre-teen daughter Holly, played with scene-stealing, nuanced gusto by Angourie Rice. “She is their conscience,” says Black, whose inspiration for the character came from the young, level-headed femme protagonists found in Japanese Anime.
Says Black about resurrecting a specific theme from various Hollywood noirs: “If you look at the noir tradition that we sort of inhabit with this movie, there is a tradition of protecting little girls. And I said to Russell and Ryan on the first day, ‘This movie is about saving little girls.’ Sometimes they’re 11 years old and sometimes they’re a porn star who just died, but there’s something iconic about innocence in LA, and little girls who’ve gone awry and have to be protected, and no matter how screwed up these two tarnished knights are in the movie, at the base of it they know little girls need to be protected.”
The Nice Guys premieres out of competition tomorrow night at 10:30 PM.