Pulp novels to get new life with Doc Savage film

Cover to a 1964 re-issue of Doc Savage: Man of Bronze

Cover to a re-issue of Doc Savage: Man of Bronze

Pulp magazines, which influenced both comic books and Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, are about to get some new life, thanks to a new film version of Doc Savage with Dwayne Johnson.

Johnson announced the movie, to be directed by Shane Black, via his Instagram account. That prompted stories on Deadline: Hollywood, Entertainment Weekly and Birth Movies Death among other places.

Pulps (as they were commonly called) were inexpensive publications including the exploits of heroes who experienced outlandish adventures.

Doc Savage, according to Wikipedia, was the subject of Doc Savage Magazine, which ran from March 1933 to summer 1949. Other pulp heroes included The Shadow and The Avenger.

As we’ve written before, Ian Fleming 007 novels had pulp influences with larger than life villains such as Dr. No and Goldfinger.

Pulps also were forerunner of comic books, which took off when Superman debuted in 1938, Batman in 1939, the Sub-Mariner and Human Torch in 1939 and Captain America in 1941.

Doc Savage was a master of all trades with multiple sidekicks. In the 1970s, movie producer George Pal, whose credits included the 1960 version of The Time Machine, thought it was time to bring Doc to the big screen.

Thus, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze came out in the summer of 1975 with Ron Ely as Doc. It was directed by Michael Anderson, who had helmed 1956’s Around the World in Eighty Days.

Like James Bond movies of the era, the end titles of Doc Savage: Man of Bronze included the title of the next film adventure. Unfortunately for Doc, the movie didn’t do well enough at the box office to merit a second film.

It remains to be seen how well the new Doc movie will fare. But, for now, the announcement is pumping new life into the pulps.


Sam Mendes in talks to direct Bond 24, Deadline says

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes, who had said he wouldn’t be back for Bond 24 after directing Skyfall, is in talks with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures to helm the next 007 movie.


EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and MGM have started talks for Sam Mendes to return and direct Daniel Craig in the next installment
Recently, (Mendes) and the producers (Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson) got back in touch. While Mendes’ first love is theater, it became clear that the producers wanted him and he wanted to return, and the only thing standing in the way were these stage commitments that Mendes felt obligated to do. So, they’ve decided to wait for him to work through those other commitments, and he’s now making a deal to start production probably next year.

The stage commitments are Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear. While Deadline says Bond 24 would probably start next year, Mendes previously TOLD EMPIRE MAGAZINE that his stage productions would “need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.” It’s also not clear from the Deadline story whether a 2014 start would mean a 2014 or 2015 release. Still, Deadline was the first major entertainment site to report that Mendes was involved in Bond 23, which became Skyfall.

The Deadline report came after two entertainment Web sites reported a number of directors, including Ang Lee, who won as Oscar for directing Life of Pi, are under consideration to direct Bond 24.

Ang Lee

Ang Lee

First up was a REPORT IN FIRSTSHOWING.NET saying Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn is in the running. Writer Alex Billington said he had been “tipped from a trustworthy source” (no specifics how the source knows this or if the source has direct knowledge) that the director “Refn has been connected to the new Bond.” Refn didn’t answer when asked by Billington about it at the Cannes Film Festival. A video of Refn not answering was provided with the story.

Next up was A STORY IN VARIETY. It cited the Firstshowing story and went one better by saying Lee; Shane Black, director of Iron Man Three; Tom Hooper, who helmed The King’s Speech and Les Miserables; and David Yates, director of four Harry Potter films, were also on the shopping list of Eon Productions.

The Variety story had this word of caution:

Sources tell Variety it could still be some time until a decision is made — not only because they are still meeting with helmers, but also because the details of (Daniel) Craig’s deal are still being worked out. Given how successful the franchise has been with Craig as the star, especially the last pic, the star’s deal is expected to be very lucrative and probably also involves director approval.

Deadline, meanwhile, had a jab at its competitors. “It is a moot point, because Mendes will be the director of the next Bond.” Mendes brought John Logan aboard to rewrite Skyfall and the scribe got hired to do the screenplays for Bond 24 and Bond 25. If Deadline is right, Mendes already has one trusted associate on board.