Shane Black on Mismatched Teams

Posted on May 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

I often say that the single most popular theme in movies is two characters who don’t like each other at first but develop a grudging respect and often a deep affection. Sometimes it’s even a romance, as in “Pride and Prejudice” and most romantic comedies. Writer/director Shane Black, whose films “Lethal Weapon,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and “The Nice Guys” are exceptionally entertaining examples, told Screen Crush what intrigues him about mismatched teams.

The mismatch, the two guys who have to use each other as a sounding board and figure out how to get up in the morning when the questions they ask themselves don’t resonate anymore. It’s the notion that I think you sometimes need someone else to believe in you for you, before you have the courage to actually believe in yourself. There’s a real thread of that in a lot of what I do. When you get two great actors to play off each other what you get is good comedy, number one, because they have someone to talk to. But you also get a very heartfelt sense of friendship that hopefully, by the end of the movie when they part, you think, “Wow, these guys have been through an experience together, which had as much to do with friendship as it did kicking ass.”

I’m less drawn to movies where the pairings are buddies like in The Expendables, tossing each other guns, and more when it’s just people who sort of don’t want the other guy in their life, and have to reluctantly admit somebody or some other influence.

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