Warner Bros. has released the first image for director Shane Black‘s noir-tinged detective thriller, The Nice Guys, starring Ryan Gosling as a down-on-his luck private detective and Russell Crowe as a hired muscle who have to team up to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star — an investigation that leads them to uncover far-reaching conspiracy of corruption.
The folks over at People debuted the first image and sat down for a chat with Black about his return to the world of investigations and tangled-web conspiracy. Check out the first image and what he revealed about the film below.
Black described the tone of the film, which sits somewhere between thriller and comedy, praising the comedic performances of his lead actors.
“Whether this thing is a comedy with action or a thriller with jokes, one thing that’s very clear is these two are extremely funny. People will enjoy seeing the two of them.”
Gosling echoed that sentiment (and confirmed his role in Blade Runner 2) when he spoke with Steve last month in anticipation of The Big Short, saying,
“It’s Shane Black. He’s a world unto himself. His world is so fun and crazy. I had such a great time. Russell Crowe is so funny in the movie. I can’t wait for people to see that in the movie. It’s not a side of himself that he shows very often, but he’s hysterical.”
However don’t expect an outright comedy. Black describes The Nice Guys as a “spiritual sequel” to his directorial debut, the absolutely brilliant 2005 noir thriller Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which starred Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer as an odd couple pair of sleuths embroiled and outgunned in a conspiratorial murder case of mistaken identities and Hollywood corruption. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang walked a fine line between moments of hilarity and moments of deep, twisted shit, and it sounds like The Nice Guys is striving for the same balance.
“It is an R-rated film and it’s a caper…It’s a little fast, a little funny and a little rough in places, kind of coarse. These guys are working-class dudes, they’re not really sophisticated private detectives, so it’s a chance to do the kind of thriller I don’t see too much of anymore.”
As a die hard fan of Black’s work who’s watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang more times I can count, I’m genuinely thrilled at the idea of a spiritual successor. We’ll get to see if he pulled off that strange magic again when The Nice Guys opens May 20, 2016.