Robert Downey Jr. may have hung up the arc reactor for the time being, but he is reuniting with ‘Iron Man 3’ director Shane Black for a new take on novelist Donald E. Westlake’s professional thief known as Parker. This will be Black and Downey’s third collaboration.
Downey and his wife Susan Downey will be producing the new project with Joel Silver, according to a Total Film report. Black will be writing the script with screenwriters Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry, which will be heading to Amazon Studios.
Black and Downey previously worked together on the 2005 action-comedy ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,’ eight years prior to the Marvel Cinematic Universe collaboration. Silver has also worked with Black on films such as ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘The Nice Guys.’
After Tony Stark’s Iron Man persona sacrificed his life to save the universe in 2020’s ‘Avengers Endgame,” Downey has only appeared in 2020’s ‘Dr. Doolittle,’ though he is set to appear in the upcoming Jamie Fox film ‘All-Star Weekend.’
Westlake has written over twenty-four Parker books (the character has made cameos in a handful of others) from 1962 to 2008 under the pseudonym Richard Stark. The last novel was published before the author’s death in 2008.
“You’ve heard of the hero and the anti-hero…how about the non-hero,” the official Westlake website explains. “That’s how Parker, the main character in a series of novels by Richard Stark (AKA Donald E. Westlake) has been described. Parker is a thief, but he’s no charming cat burglar who playfully eludes the silly authorities. He’s a ruthless thug who does whatever it takes to get what he wants (usually money), and he doesn’t care about a living soul other than himself. Some of the things he does will be repellent (I hope) to readers.”
Parker novels have been adapted for several films with actors such as Mel Gibson, Robert Duvall, Jim Brown, and Peter Coyote portraying variations of the non-hero. These include ‘Made in USA’ (1966), ‘Point Blank’ (1967), ‘The Split’ (1968), ‘Midnight Raid’ (1969), ‘The Outfit’ (1973), ‘Slayground’ (1983), ‘Payback’ (1999), and ‘Parker’ (2013). While most of the films changed the name of the main character, the latter starred Jason Statham as the titular professional thief and is based on the nineteenth book in the series.
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