Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black, who have teamed previously on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, are reportedly set to work together again.
They are working on an adaptation of Parker, the fictional thief and protagonist of 24 novels written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Black has written the film, which is in development at Amazon.
The Parker character has inspired Lee Marvin in Point Blank, Jim Brown in The Split, Mel Gibson in Payback, and Jason Statham in the aptly titled Parker.
Details are sparse right now, but obviously Downey Jr. is in line to play the title role, which would see him play an anti-hero in the sort of standalone action film he’s usually avoided throughout his career.
In Westlake’s novels, the Parker character is a ruthless career criminal with almost no redeeming qualities, aside from efficiency and professionalism. He’s meticulous and only lives by one ethical principle: he will not double-cross another professional criminal with whom he is working, unless they try to double-cross him.
Downey Jr.’s career throughout the last decade has consisted almost entirely of MCU films, barring his ill-advised starring role in Dolittle. But post-Iron Man, he has signed on for some interesting projects, including Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer and a starring role in the TV adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s novel The Sympathizer.
Reteaming with Black makes sense for Downey Jr., as the two obviously have a good working relationship, and Black’s track record of giving movie stars interesting roles out of their typical comfort zone is a good one. His last film was The Predator, which was poorly received but also suffered from studio meddling.
We’ll wait to hear more news regarding Parker, which will likely be one of the more talked about in-development films thanks to Downey Jr.’s popularity and the increased interest in what his post-MCU career will look like.