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Shane Black (born December 16 1961) is an American actor, screenwriter and film director. He wrote the late 1980’s and early 1990’s action movie hit Lethal Weapon and made his directorial debut with the film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Shane Black was born and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Paul and Patricia Ann Black. His father was in the printing business. His family moved to to Fullerton, California during his sophomore year of high school, there he attended Sunny Hills High School.
He studied theatre at UCLA and graduated in 1983 with the intent to become an actor. While looking for a way to make some income as he struggled to find acting roles, his friend Fred Dekker encouraged Black to try his hand at screenwriting. Remembering what he learned from a dramatic writing class he took in college, he borrowed a typewriter and went to work on his first script. At age 23, Black wrote his second screenplay, Lethal Weapon, in six weeks. His agent David Greenblatt sold the screenplay in three days.
Black’s first acting role came in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Predator; since then he has acted in a further five films and in one television episode for the TV series Dark Justice. The majority of Black’s career is in screenwriting – he has written 10 produced scripts. He wrote the cult classic, The Monster Squad (1987), and was a co-writer of Lethal Weapon 2 released in 1989. Since then he made substantially more money as a screenwriter. He received $1.75 million for his screenplay The Last Boy Scout released in 1991, and $1 million for Last Action Hero released in 1993. At the height of his career he was the highest paid screenwriter in the Hollywood movie industry, making $4 million for penning The Long Kiss Goodnight.
He then had a long break, penning his next movie, and directorial debut, the excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). He has since written and is currently directing Iron Man 3, which is due out in Northern Summer 2013.
Black has admitted that many of the scripts he had written for other directors, although commanding a hefty sum, were rewritten to a point where they scarcely resembled his product. This is such a common experience in Hollywood that the Writers Guild of America, West conducts an arbitration system whereby the “multiple writers who contributed to a given screenplay contend for screen credit on the resulting film.” Black used the pseudonyms Harry Lime and Holly Martins, the names of two leading characters in the film The Third Man, for certain projects.
Black has a recognizable writing style where he often adds comments (referred to as “Shane Blackisms”) and jokes about the situations taking place in the story. He also occasionally directs comments at studio executives and certain script readers, sometimes to ensure that they are paying attention, and sometimes to just to ‘have a go’ at someone…
In 2009 he conducted an excellent interview with The Guardian newspaper in the UK where he gave a mini-masterclass in the art of writing action films. Read it HERE
December 16, 2012 | Categories: Biography, Biography: AUTHORS | Tags: Action, Blockbuster, Comic Book Movies, Controversial, Franchise, Icons, Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Lethal Weapon, Marvel, Predator, The Avengers, Thriller, Violence | Leave a comment