The World’s Worst Detectives: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Nice Guys
Although it was sadly overshadowed at the box office by Captain America: Civil War, Shane Black’s The Nice Guys was one of the most entertaining movies of the decade. With a sleek yet gritty neo-noir aesthetic and a pitch-black comic sensibility, The Nice Guys took moviegoers through the streets of a ‘70s-era Los Angeles filled with hippies and porn stars.
Anchored by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe’s hilarious on-screen chemistry (and brilliant individual performances) as rivaling private eyes forced to work together, The Nice Guys is a masterpiece of postmodern genre cinema. Here are 10 fascinating facts from the making of the film.
10 The Movie Was Almost Retooled As A TV Series
Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi began working on the script for The Nice Guys in 2001. The only thing that remained the same from that draft to the final one was the characters. The screenplay failed to gain any traction at movie studios, so Black retooled it as a TV pilot. He trimmed the script down to 64 pages to be the first episode of an hour-long drama.
CBS was initially interested in the pilot, but the Standards and Practices people weren’t happy with the script’s content and the show never went ahead. At this point, Black turned the project back into a movie.
9 Russell Crowe Wanted To Make A Sequel
When Howard Stern asked Russell Crowe which of his movies he’d want to make a sequel to, he named The Nice Guys and L.A. Confidential, both period pieces and mystery stories set in Los Angeles.
Crowe enjoyed playing Jackson Healy enough to want to play him again. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t do well enough at the box office to warrant a follow-up.
8 The Title Is Ironic
According to The Nice Guys’ co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi, calling Holland March and Jackson Healy “nice guys” in the title was meant to be ironic. Bagarozzi said that March and Healy were “literally the two worst people that we could think of,” given that one scams old ladies out of cash and the other breaks people’s bones for money.
7 Despite The Nice Guys Being Set In L.A., It Was Mostly Filmed In Atlanta
Although The Nice Guys is set in Los Angeles and has a distinctive L.A. feel, it was mostly shot in Atlanta. All the background cars in Downtown Atlanta were given California plates to help the location double as ‘70s L.A..
The party scene that takes place in Sid Shattuck’s house was filmed at the home of music producer Dallas Austin in Atlanta. This house was previously featured on MTV Cribs.
6 The Score Was Inspired By The Streets Of San Francisco
For the musical score of The Nice Guys, Shane Black recruited John Ottman, who had previously composed the score for Black’s film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. In creating music for the film’s ‘70s setting, Ottman was inspired by the music in TV shows from that era, such as S.W.A.T. and The Dean Martin Show.
In coming up with the main theme for the movie, Ottman was heavily influenced by The Streets of San Francisco. Black said that he deliberately chose songs for the soundtrack that would contrast with the film’s neo-noir style.
5 Shane Black Reused Some Dialogue From Iron Man 3 In The Script
Some dialogue from Shane Black’s previous film, the controversial MCU entry Iron Man 3, appears in The Nice Guys. Two lines shared by the private eyes and the bartender they’re shaking down (“He’ll stop doing it.” “Doing what?”) previously appeared in Iron Man 3.
Tony Stark and James Rhodes used this tactic when they interrogated the Mandarin. It’s a wonder why Black decided to remind viewers about what he did to the "supervillain."
4 The Success Of Sherlock Holmes Convinced Producer Joel Silver To Make The Nice Guys
When Shane Black first pitched The Nice Guys to his go-to producer, Joel Silver, Silver was concerned that a period piece couldn’t be a box office success. He changed his mind when his Sherlock Holmes movie, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the iconic detective, grossed half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office.
Black has said that he chose the ‘70s setting to counteract the divisions in modern society with a story set during a time of multiculturalism and protests bringing people together.
3 The Nice Guys Used The Warner Bros. Logo From The ‘70s
Since the film takes place in the 1970s, Warner Bros. decided to attach the old logo that they used from 1972 to 1984 as opposed to their current logo. The ‘70s logo was designed by the great Saul Bass and has been nicknamed the “Big W."
2 Shane Black Struggled To Get The Nice Guys Into Production For 13 Years
Shane Black spent 13 years struggling to get The Nice Guys made before it all came together in a matter of three days. No studio would finance the movie, and then Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe accepted their roles within three days of receiving the script and suddenly, the project was a go.
1 Ryan Gosling And Russell Crowe Took Their Roles So They Could Work With Each Other
Part of the reason why Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe accepted their roles in The Nice Guys is that they wanted to work with each other. In fact, Gosling said that when he first read the script, he knew that Crowe was the top choice to play Healy, so he read Healy’s lines with Crowe in mind and it already made the movie seem funnier on the page.