Is The Nice Guys (2016) Based on a True Story? – Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, and Kim Basinger also appear in supporting roles in the 2016 American neo-noir buddy action-comedy The Nice Guys, which was directed and co-written by Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi. The movie, which is set in 1977 Los Angeles, centres on a private detective (Ryan Gosling) and a tough enforcer (Jason Crowe) who work together to look into the disappearance of a teenage girl (Qualley).
Before being released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the US on May 20, 2016, The Nice Guys had its Hollywood premiere on May 11 and a Cannes Film Festival screening on May 15. It earned favourable reviews from critics for its humour, intrigue, and Crowe and Gosling’s performances. On a $50 million budget, it made $62 million in revenue. If you want to know whether ‘The Nice Guys’ story is based on a true story or not, keep reading below to learn.
Is The Nice Guys (2016) Based on a Real Story or Not?
No, the plot of “The Nice Guys” is not based on a real event. Director Shane Black and co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi created a fictional script for March and Healy, and neither the storyline nor the primary characters are based on actual individuals or events. Black said in an exclusive interview with GQ that Bagarozzi’s love of detective fiction inspired the detective team’s creation. Black gave mystery and western author Brett Halliday, who published works under the pen name David Dresser, credit for serving as the main source of inspiration for the plot of the film.
Black expressly stated in a chat with Screen Crush that “…in one of his books called ‘Blue Murder’ there was a clue that I saw like 10 years ago, and it just said, ‘A porno film where the important part is the plot.’ That’s it. It’s not like there’s a whole movie there, that was it. But I called up the granddaughter, Chloe, and I said, ‘Listen, can I steal a clue from you? Not steal, I’ll pay for it.’” It’s interesting to note that Brett Halliday receives a “special thanks” at the end of “The Nice Guys.”
Bagarozzi explained the writing process in an interview with Variety. “We each took a character and started writing and then we switched back and forth until we had a plot. I started with Jackson Healy, but it got to the point where we don’t know who wrote what,” he said.
Jackson Healy was where I started, but it has gotten to the point where we are unsure of who wrote what. He said it was intended to deceive the audience by giving the piece the satirical title “The Nice Guys.”
“You know they’re two not-very-nice guys. One breaks arms for a living and the other cons old ladies out of money. It was literally the two worst people that we could think of and then trying to make that fun,” he continued.
The script’s original draft was completed in 2001. Although the audience appreciated the clever dialogue, humour, and plot of “The Nice Guys,” Black admitted that no one had expressed interest in the script when it was being developed as a film. However, the network objected when Black and Bagarozzi turned the script into a television pilot and approached CBS because it was “egregiously offended by even the most minor edginess,” according to Black.
Later, they decided to relocate the action to the 1970s, which perfectly suited the plot’s tone in a time of “hippie culture” and car advancement. When asked why he decided to set the neo-noir comedy in the City of Angels, Black remarked that Ross MacDonald and Raymond Chandler, two of his favourite noir writers, had prepared him “for what was to be the promised land.”
He continued, “…the era of The Nice Guys really emphasized to me the dime-store chic of L.A. It was like a fading beauty queen with a tattered gown still trying to parade nightly across the sky.“
In a conversation with Indie Wire, he went into further detail on the scene. “I just thought the 1970s had a certain vitality. They lived in a different era. It was the aftermath of the protests, and you got the impression that we were all in this together, not all the division we see now. Multiculturalism dominated television, including “Sesame Street.” It truly demonstrates how eclectic, open-minded, and diversified the 1970s were. It was designed to create this exuberant celebration of unity. The director stated, “I didn’t intend to make a depressing movie.”
Interestingly, Black’s producer friend, Joel Silver, supported Bagarozzi’s suggestion to change the location after he produced the critically acclaimed 2009 movie “Sherlock Holmes.” In terms of personalities, March and Healy’s characters are very similar, unlike in other classic buddy cop films where the protagonists’ personalities are noticeably different. Their witty relationship enhances their chemistry, and they are both equally talented and imperfect.
According to Black, who was asked about the inspiration behind the flawed lead characters, “I love the notion of the feckless sort of knight in tarnished armor who would love to fill the shoes of the legendary hero but just can’t. And then find a moment when they do. And I love the idea that there’s a myth waiting for each of us to occupy,” he said to GQ.
According to Black, Gosling was immediately prepared to join the ship, and he discussed casting Gosling and Crowe as the renowned crime-solving team.
Gosling informed the filmmaker, “I think this is what I want to do.” It only took a few days after Gosling’s consent for the filmmakers to clinch their star duo.
Black explained how Crowe was chosen for the role, saying, “Russell, who was basically ready to turn me down, said, ‘Wait a minute, Gosling wants to do this?’ And, so, within three days, literally 72 hours, it came together after 13 years of complete inactivity. Which was sort of mind-bending, the way things happen.”
Thus, after more than ten years of dormancy, Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi only needed three days for everything to come together. Together, they came up with a fictional tale of two likeable, flawed detectives that is equal parts buddy action comedy and serious neo-noir drama. It is, therefore, comprehensible why many people believe “The Nice Guys” is based on a true story, even if it is not.