Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Not Just a Fan of Book Authors by Melinda Curtis

I have favorite romance authors, favorite thriller authors, and favorite biography authors. But I hadn't realized until recently that I have a few favorite screenwriters, one of which is Shane Black.

If you think Shane looks a bit like a bad boy, you'd be right. But he's also got a sensitive side. And the dude understands how to create the kind of internal conflict that engages the emotions and has you sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering how in the heck this movie's going to end happily for the characters you love. Sound like the goal of every romance novelist? It is.
Shane burst onto the Hollywood scene at age 24 with a script for something you might have seen: Lethal Weapon. That's right. The Mel Gibson/Danny Glover movie that changed the action genre from cardboard Dirty Harry movies (not that I don't love Clint) to movies that blew stuff up and also tore us up inside. After writing Lethal Weapon 2, Shane walked away from the franchise when the director/producers on the film wouldn't honor the way it was written - with Riggs (Mel Gibson) dying.

He also wrote another of my action/thriller favs - The Long Kiss Goodnight. Talk about twists and reinventing the genre once more! Here was a woman in the lead role of what might have been written for a man. He sold the script for a record (at the time) $4 million. And that's where he seemed to have lost his way. As writers, we all know about paths that lead you away from your writing mojo. Shane became better known for the fantastic parties he'd throw than brilliant scripts for awhile.

He came blazing back with 2013's Iron Man 3. It was the highest grossing film of the IM franchise and had the deepest level of internal conflict for Tony Stark (conflict that continues to drive storylines like Captain America: Civil War - the need for Tony to minimize collateral damage by his superhero friends). And guess what? Shane wrote the Iron Man script at the urging of Robert Downey Jr., who starred in the cult classic written by Shane: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Have all Shane's movies been commercial successes? No. Have all Shane's movies been critically acclaimed? No. He doesn't give a rat's ass (yeah, I channeled him a bit there). He's like any good writer. He follows his muse and he writes what interests him. Sometimes that appeals to a broad audience and sometimes it appeals to a niche market. The point is: Shane Black likes exploring the dark corners of character, perhaps because he has dark corners himself.

Do you have a screenwriter you admire for one reason or another? Would love to hear who you admire/love and which movies/TV shows they've done.

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning, USA Today bestseller. Her latest release - A Man of Influence -deals with characters who aren't perfect, but manage to dish out humor and punchy one-liners that Shane might appreciate.

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