Sounds like we might get to see an updated version of Perry Mason films…sure would be nice to see a new series…but can Mr. Downey Jr fill the shoes of the late actor Raymond Burr?
Pass it on,
He’s already flying through the skies on a regular basis as Iron Man, and is due to appear in a second Sherlock Holmes film for director Guy Ritchie next year. But Robert Downey Jr reportedly wants a third high-profile Hollywood franchise and is eyeing a starring turn as the detective Perry Mason in the first big-screen outing for the unflappable Los Angeles defence lawyer since 1937.
Variety reports that Downey Jr and his wife, producer Susan Downey, are putting the project together at their production company, Team Downey, as a potential starring vehicle for the actor. The film looks likely to be a period piece set in 1930s LA, a fertile era and location for Hollywood over the years. Erle Stanley Gardner wrote more than 80 novels featuring Mason between 1933 and his death in 1970, and there have also been two TV series and dozens of TV movies about the lawyer. Many starred Raymond Burr, who played the character between 1957 and 1966 in the series Perry Mason and reprised the role between 1985 and his death in 1993 in 26 feature-length episodes.
Gardner was a mentor to both Raymond Chandler, creator of the noir stalwart Philip Marlowe, and Dashiell Hammett, who wrote the novels upon which both The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man were based. He was more popular than both writers combined, with more than 425m books sold.
Mason was also the subject of six films between 1934 and 1937. Warren William starred as the lawyer in the first four movies, with Ricardo Cortez and Donald Woods taking over for the final two.
For a film star to appear in three successful movie franchises at the same time is almost unheard of, and Downey Jr’s position is all the more remarkable because it is only just over a decade since his last arrest on drugs charges in April 2001. In the intervening period, the actor has transformed himself from a talented actor who struggled with substance abuse into one of the most high-profile figures in Hollywood, picking up a Golden Globe for his turn in Sherlock Holmes and receiving a second Oscar nomination for his work in the comedy Tropic Thunder.
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