As some of you probably already know, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has signed to play Doc Savage in Shane Black’s film adaptation.
I think the Rock is one of the few people who could play Doc and do a good job (Schwarzenegger’s name has been tossed around in recent years, but I don’t think he’d worked as well). However his description of the role (at the link) is that Doc is a “weirdo” with zero social skills — “every interaction he has with someone is direct, odd, often uncomfortable and amazingly hilarious.” It’s certainly true Doc’s interactions with women could be hilarious, and after the first few years Doc himself acknowledges (in The Freckled Shark, for instance) his upbringing doesn’t make him the poster boy for mental health. But Johnson’s phrasing makes him sound like he (or Black) sees Doc as some kind of socially crippled nerd a la Sheldon in Big Bang Theory and that won’t fly at all. Well not with me; most people will have no prior experience of Doc so if that is the direction this goes, they may be perfectly happy.
Johnson goes on to add that Doc is the inspiration for Superman but Siegel and Shuster “took the best parts” and left out the weirdo. Because there’s nothing weird about a man who can bounce bullets of his chest playing the biggest wimp in the world. And while Doc is certainly an influence for Superman, citing him as the inspiration may be pushing it: Philip Wylie’s Gladiator is probably just as important, for instance. But I’m willing to write that off to the need to hook audiences who’ve never heard of Doc Savage. The “weirdo” bit, not so much.
(Cover by James Bama, all rights reside with current holder).