EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has set Iron Man 3 helmer Shane Black to direct The Destroyer, Fight Club scribe Jim Uhls’ scripted adaptation of the adventure book series by Warren Murphy and Richard Ben Sapir that will give framed New Jersey cop Remo Williams another shot at a movie franchise. Uhls wrote the script with James Mullaney, who co-authored books in the series and became the sole writer of The Destroyer series until it ended in 2008. The film will be produced by Charles Roven, Steven Chasman, and Andy Horwitz. Michael De Luca and Lauren Abrahams will oversee for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Williams was a Newark cop until he was framed, sentenced to death, then resurrected following a botched execution. He is given a second lease on life serving in the enforcement arm of the clandestine U.S. government agency CURE. Williams teams with the Asian assassin Chiun and together they clean up and eliminate those who oppose America’s interests. The book combined old-school suspense and Eastern mysticism, and slick, violent capers that lend themselves to humor, which has always been in Black’s wheelhouse.
Black, who started his career writing phenomenally successful spec scripts that included Lethal Weapon, became a director with the Robert Downey Jr-starrer Kiss, Kiss, Bang Bang, and most recently reunited with Downey to direct Iron Man 3, which grossed $1.25 billion worldwide and bolstered Marvel’s highest flying franchise outside of The Avengers. Black is attached to co-write and direct Doc Savage for Sony, but his collaborators feel he has an ideal take for Remo Williams, the rough and tumble character who first surfaced in the 1985 movie that starred Fred Ward (The Right Stuff astronaut who opened the hatch too early and sunk his spacecraft).
“Shane has been a fan of the original Destroyer book series since its inception and he has an incredible vision for this film,” said Atlas Entertainment’s Roven, who presided over the Dark Knight franchise and Man Of Steel and is currently producing Batman V. Superman. “[We] couldn’t be more fortunate to be working with this talented director on this material. The narrative Jim and James have created is incredibly rich and while it’s a story rooted in adventure, it is also very much character driven.”
Said Columbia Pictures production president De Luca: “The Destroyer is a two-fisted classic and deserves no less than the genius of Shane Black. “We couldn’t be more excited about his vision for this character.”
Black is represented by WME and David Greenblatt of GreenLit Creative. Uhls is represented by Paradigm and Anonymous Content. Mullaney is also repped by Greenblatt.