Veteran producer Joel Silver (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey’s Team Downey and Amazon Studios are partnering to develop a series of feature film and television projects based on Donald E. Westlake’s series of highly popular Parker crime fiction novels, written under the pseudonym Richard Stark.
The first project emerging from the deal will be the film Play Dirty, in which Downey Jr. (Marvel’s Avengers franchise) is set to star as Parker, a professional thief who approaches his job with a straightforward, no-nonsense work ethic. He’s a craftsman. He’s brutal, brilliant. He’s also deadly. He’s whatever it takes to get the money and get away clean. The Parker character was first introduced in 1962’s The Hunter from Pocket Books and featured in 23 other titles from Westlake, subsequently serving as the basis for such films as Parker with Jason Statham, Payback with Mel Gibson, and The Outfit with Robert Duvall.
Shane Black (The Nice Guys) adapted the screenplay for Play Dirty with Charles Mondry and Anthony Bagarozzi and is set to direct. Silver will produce alongside Downey Jr. and Downey for Team Downey, and Marc Toberoff, with Ezra Emanuel co-producing. The film reunites Downey Jr., Downey, Black and Silver almost two decades following the release of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, their Warner Bros. cult classic, which was in the same hardboiled vein as as the Parker books.
Downey Jr. and Black also previously collaborated on 2013’s Iron Man 3. Silver’s partnership with Black goes back even further, encompassing such projects written, co-written or inspired by the written material of the latter as Lethal Weapon 1, 2 , 3 and 4, and The Last Boy Scout, along with his directorial effort The Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice. Additional Downey Jr. titles produced by Silver include Weird Science and Gothika, as well as Sherlock Holmes and its sequels, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and the upcoming Sherlock Holmes 3.
Downey Jr. is next starring in Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated, star-studded feature Oppenheimer for Universal, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The two-time Oscar nominee is also co-starring in HBO’s series adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel, The Sympathizer, directed by the acclaimed Park Chan-wook and produced by Team Downey, there playing five different roles including four main antagonists.
Downey Jr. earned his Oscar noms for his turns in Chaplin and Tropic Thunder. In addition to the Avengers franchise, in which he portrayed Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), and the Sherlock Holmes films, he’s known for turns in titles including Dolittle, The Judge, Chef, Due Date, The Soloist, Charlie Bartlett, Zodiac, A Scanner Darkly, Good Night, and Good Luck., Bowfinger, Richard III, Natural Born Killers and Short Cuts.
Black also wrote and directed 2018’s The Predator and penned such titles as The Long Kiss Goodnight, Last Action Hero and The Monster Squad.
Silver has also produced or exec produced such major films as Suburbicon, Veronica Mars, Project X, The Book of Eli, Splice, Orphan, RocknRolla, Speed Racer, Fred Claus, The Brave One, V for Vendetta, House of Wax, the first three Matrix pics, Swordfish, Richie Rich, Demolition Man, Hudson Hawk, Predator and Predator 2, Die Hard and Die Hard 2, Road House, Action Jackson, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Brewster’s Millions and 48 Hrs. He also exec produced the original Veronica Mars series.
Downey Jr. and Downey are represented by WME and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller; Black by WME, manager David Greenblatt and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman; Silver by WME; and Mondry and Bagarozzi by Greenlit Management and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman.
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