Shane Black breaks down the Christmas settings for his movies

Really, everything Three days of condorError. This is the movie that convinced a young, impressionable Shane Black that Christmas can be a suitably dramatic, sometimes wry, sometimes heartfelt, heartfelt thriller. “In that, Christmas played a big part. It’s set against the backdrop of people shopping, Christmas carols going up, and there’s snow,” Black says, speaking exclusively to empire. And even a pause at the end where Redford walks outside with the killer, and the guy says, “Can I give you a ride?” This is a guy who was about to kill him or kill him. And I felt it was really appropriate to have Christmas as the backdrop for that. It made a spark, for a holiday and making it not just a backdrop but a character in its own right.”

This, along with an intriguing understanding of the true meaning of Christmas, has resonated throughout Black’s career as a writer and director, resulting in some of the most memorable – and action-packed – Christmas movies of all time. So, when we catch up with him on Zoom, it seems appropriate to ask him about A Very Shane Black Christmas. “You can practice Christmas in many different ways,” he says. “It can be used as that unifier, where you see the beauty of a city decorated with Christmas splendor, or you can use it as a bleak landscape in which the festive decorations themselves seem to contrast with something else, when the streets are deserted, the wind is blowing, and you seem to be the last person on earth to stare at the happy family eating.” the Dinner “.

As for what he’s doing this Christmas? “I see my mom for a little while and then she goes back to the drawing board,” he says. He is currently working on the script for what he hopes will be his next film, Parker, which could bring him and Robert Downey Jr. together again, which he can’t say anything about at this point. Yet somehow, the author of some of the most amazing and most subversive Christmas movies of modern times who spends his time writing on Christmas Day is no longer black. I wish you a happy Shane Black birthday, everyone.

lethal Weapon

The script that turned Shane Black into Shane Black. Before we get down to any boring arguments like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon is totally a Christmas movie from the start, starting with a scene set in a Christmas tree lot (and featuring Blackie Dammett, aka the father of Red Hot Chilli Peppers frontman, Anthony Kiedis). ). But Black has always been meant to be a Christmas movie with a difference…

“The idea of ​​Christmas in LA was interesting. You have to find little nuggets of Christmas in LA. It’s an ironic antithesis to this plot about people bashing the suburban way of life. And it takes a cowboy to save the day, in this case Frankenstein.” From Vietnam, who’s been ostracized and reviled. They now realize there’s still a threat, violence never sleeps and they have to go back to the Frankenstein they cursed so badly and say, We’re here for Christmas and there’s evil afoot and we want you to come out of your retirement. Go save Christmas, Save our ability to believe we’re safe behind our windows with Christmas dinner. But I didn’t think much of it at the time – yeah, it’s nice, it’s Christmas. But then when [Richard] Donner has managed to get back on its feet, and it was very powerful to see Hollywood Boulevard decorated for Christmas, and [Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs] Running barefoot down the street with a machine gun.

long kiss good night

The script that made Black the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood history (at the time), The Long Kiss Goodnight is his most overtly Christmassy movie, following hitman-turned-loving housewife-turned-again master killer Geena Davis and Sardonic Private Dick. Samuel L. Jackson’s nightmarish, snow-covered epic includes carolers held at gunpoint, Christmas carols galore, and a finale in which Davis uses a bunch of Christmas lights to take out the bad guy.

“I love the snow. I love the frozen landscape, the frozen feel it gives the city context to the story. And I wanted to do something in the snow. It felt especially good, because it’s about a housewife who’s not really a housewife, who has given up on her past. There’s an element of it.” It’s a wonderful life, where she lives this life, and had to forget that she is a murderer in order to do so. Christmas is the perfect suburban housewife time, it’s the perfect fantasy to follow. “What if I’m just a guy who makes Christmas cookies? What if I buy gifts instead of knives and guns? In the end, for me—and we don’t get into town much in the movie—it saves Whoville from this explosion that’s going to destroy it. In the script, when there was Big Bang At the end, we had a Christmas Parade and one of the decorations was Santa on a sleigh, which is blown up in the air by the explosion, and the kids see it fly across the sky with the dead Santa. That was, I think, a little geeky.”

Kiss kiss bang bang

Black’s directorial debut, and the film that set Robert Downey Jr. on the path to becoming Jon Favreau’s first choice to play Tony Stark, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is another L.A. Christmas movie — and while the season isn’t an integral part of the plot, it really does start with Downey’s Harry Lockhart is trying to steal the hottest Christmas game of the year. And along the way, he gives us a slutty Christmas party, and Michelle Monaghan instantly becomes an icon in his Santa Claus costume.

“I really wanted to set it at Christmas. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about it. It just seemed natural, because I hadn’t directed a movie at that time in several years. And there was no hesitation that I went with Joel Silver, and we actually did a Christmas movie.” together lethal Weapon. even in Last action hero It was a Christmas movie. So it was, why not? Christmas has helped a lot. The idea of ​​this lonely guy in a brand new town at Christmas, wandering around. It’s a strange and ridiculous Christmas scene in Los Angeles. It’s not Christmassy at all, except that, “There are miracles to find if you look closely at them.” Harry even says, “Last Christmas we kind of changed the world,” meaning “We did something at Christmas that was a) important and b) impossible. It was one of my favorite things to work on.”

Iron Man 3

Now well aware of his reputation and predicting that “A Shane Black Movie” also means “Christmas movie,” Black initially had no intention of making an MCU movie (and reuniting with Robert Downey Jr.) along the way. Fortunately, he had Klaus on his contract. No, just kidding — he’s back after co-writer Drew Pearce lobbied hard to turn Iron Man 3 into a Christmas movie. The result is one of Marvel’s coolest and funniest films, with Tony Stark eventually succumbing to the spirit of Christmas by killing a group of his henchmen with improvised weapons including an exploding doll. Merry Starkmass, everyone.

“I didn’t want Christmas to feel like a gimmick, something to be expected, or a braggart on my part. It started out as fun, and once people noticed it, it stopped being fun. But I acquiesced in large part because Christmas carol side of it. Tony loses his support, loses his base, and flees in Central America. He will not be visited by ghosts, but he will certainly be in the middle of a process of reckoning or reconciliation, where he has to make an assessment, figure out what is bothering him, and how to proceed. It worked well for the end. The coda is basically him at Christmas, giving a gift to his fiancée, and giving a gift to a little boy he helped. And there’s a Christmas miracle when Jon Favreau’s character comes out of a coma. There’s just something about it where you can get as dark and dark and dark, as hard as you want, and then call in a little Christmas, and it gives you the cheer you’re looking for.”

nice guys

Well, The Nice Guys isn’t a Christmas movie at all as Black finally gets away with the mistletoe millstone around his neck. (The Predator isn’t set on Christmas either.) Until that is, when we finally get to see Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) get together on Christmas. We know it’s Christmas thanks to the trees and decorations everywhere. Otherwise, it is not taken up.

“It’s been a while — that something happens, time passes, and we pick them up again at Christmas, four or five months later, and see what the celebration looks like. And the celebration is particularly bad in this case, but they still manage to be happy.” At the end and they have a drink together. So it’s going to be a merry Christmas after all.”

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