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KISS KISS BANG BANG

Trouble Is My Business
Universally acclaimed actor Robert Downey Jr. plays Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang protagonist/narrator Harry Lockhart, a flawed but basically decent petty thief. He's endowed with a brand of blue collar charisma and a quasi-Capra-esque sense of optimism that writer-director Shane Black describes as "a guy chock-full of schemes that sputter and die almost as often as he puts his foot in his mouth.

"Harry is a perpetually unlucky guy, yet he's a cockeyed optimist,” Black continues. "He's never really learned the lesson that if you try something over and over and you keep failing, you'll probably continue to do so. Harry just keeps slamming headlong into the same wall, but somehow he never loses his youthful enthusiasm. Even when he finds himself in the most cynical, desperate, backbiting place on Earth – Los Angeles – he still retains an almost childlike lack of guile.”

"There's something about Harry that keeps you rooting for him, despite his tendency to get in his own way,” producer Joel Silver suggests. "We needed an actor who could convey the character's blend of optimism, recklessness, misguided persistence and likeability. In addition to his obvious talents as an actor, Robert Downey Jr. exudes a boyish charm and an appeal that is perfect for Harry.”

Known for his versatility, boundless talent and engaging screen presence, Downey has delivered a diverse range of memorable performances, from his roles in the seminal 1980s films Weird Science and Less Than Zero to his eponymous, Academy Award-nominated turn in Chaplin, his searing role as a tabloid reporter in Natural Born Killers and, most recently, his portrayal of a conflicted psychiatrist in Silver's hit supernatural thriller Gothika.

"Robert totally inhabits Harry,” Black says. "He brought a great deal of vulnerability and tenderness to the character, along with his endearing boyishness and a subtle comic timing that comes across in a simple gesture or a look. He brings a total commitment to his performance that appears effortless, but it's really misleading because it's tremendously difficult to do.” 

"Harry is the guy who wakes up when the neon lights go on,” Downey muses, "and I've had some experience with being nocturnal myself. Like so many of us, Harry wants to do the right thing, even if he doesn't quite know how.” 

When Harry and his partner in crime barely escape the cops after doing some after-hours Christmas "shopping” at a New York City toy store, his unartful getaway results in an unintentional audition for a Hollywood detective movie. Cut to L.A., where Harry is flown in to screen test, and enter Perry van Shrike, AKA "Gay Perry,” a tough-as-nails, openly gay private eye hired to teach the thief-trying-to-be-an-actor how to act like a detective.

It seems only fitting that the filmmakers responsible for infusing the action genre with a supersized dose of machismo be the ones to turn that conceit on its ear by having the most traditionally macho character in the story be gay. "That's classic Shane,” Silver says. "He loves to play with the audience's expectations.”

Rugged, ruthless and relentlessly tough, Perry stands in sharp contrast to Harry's gregarious naivété. He's a crack shot with a gun as well as his deadpan delivery, and he makes no secret of his disdain for his new charge.

"Perry has been around the block before, and he knows Harry is trouble,” says Val Kilmer, who plays the cynical detective. "He wants nothing to do with him.”

"Gay Perry is a steely-eyed S.O.B. who could kick your teeth in, but he also has a few fussy predilections,” says Black of Jonny Gossamer's post-modern counterpart. "Despite the fact that his candor makes some of his clients uncomfortable, Perry is iconic; he's a mythic figure who commands the room when he enters it, and Val does that brilliantly.”

"Val has an incredible presenc

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