Play Dirty | LaKeith Stanfield and Mark Wahlberg to star in new Shane Black film

Robert Downey Jr and Shane Black
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Shane Black’s next film will be the hard boiled noir Play Dirty, with LaKeith Stanfield and Mark Wahlberg taking the lead roles.

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard anything about Black’s next film, Play Dirty. Originally, the plan was to reunite Black with Robert Downey Jr. While it seems Downey Jr is still involved as a producer through Team Downey – the production company he founded with his wife Susan Downey – The Hollywood Reporter has the story that Mark Wahlberg will now play the central role, and we now learn too that LaKeith Stanfield is on board.

The plot follows “a hardened professional thief who is, naturally, double-crossed and left for dead. His hunt for revenge, however, brings with it a shot at the biggest heist of his career. But, per the studio, even with the help of his partner, an actor-slash-con artist named Grofield (LaKeith Stanfield), he’ll still need to outsmart a South American dictator, the New York mob and the world’s richest man if he hopes to stay alive”.

Black directs from a screenplay he penned with The Nice Guys co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, based on the novel of the same name by Donald E Westlake.

Joel Silver was also producing the film, until he was fired in November last year amid allegations of verbal abuse.

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Shane Black is one of those rare screenwriters whose voice is instantly recognisable in the dialogue of his characters. Like David Mamet, Black’s writing has a rhythm and cadence all its own, and it helped catapult him to the apex of Hollywood when he wrote the likes of Lethal Weapon and the hugely entertaining Bruce Willis film The Last Boy Scout.

After the latter, he was paid a record breaking $4m for his screenplay for what would become the 1994 film The Long Kiss Goodnight, which to this day stands as the largest sum ever paid for a spec script.

He’s since branched out into directing, with the wonderful Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang released in 2005, before co-writing and directing the blockbuster Marvel sequel Iron Man 3 in 2013, both of which starred Robert Downey Jr. Then there was The Nice Guys, an irreverent odd-couple detective film starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling that flew under the radar on its release in 2016. He stumbled though with 2018’s The Predator, the only one of his directorial outings to misfire.

Play Dirty is currently in production for Amazon’s MGM Studios, and we’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

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