Robert Downey Jr. Brings ‘Perry Mason’ To HBO
For over half a decade, Robert Downey Jr. attempted to bring Perry Mason back to the big screen without success. Now, it looks like he’ll get finally his chance to play the famous fictional lawyer.
Deadline is reporting that HBO has placed a Perry Mason series in development with Downey attached to star in the title role for his first major TV gig since his stint on Ally McBeal sixteen years ago. Joining Downey on Perry Mason is Nic Pizzolatto, the creator of HBO’s True Detective. HBO is looking to have Perry Mason be an ongoing series, depending upon Downey’s filming schedule and whether he and Pizzolatto come to terms on new storylines.
Perry Mason is best known as the signature role of Raymond Burr, who headlined the TV series in the ’50s and reprised his role in a number of TV movies in the mid ’80s and early ’90s. However, the character dates back to stories written in the ’30s by novelist Erle Stanley Gardner. Downey’s previous Perry Mason feature film reportedly included plans to keep the original ’30s setting and pulp origins for the character.
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Clearly HBO had a vested interest in lining up one of the biggest box office stars for this project, and Pizzolatto needed something to work on if True Detective may not get a third season. But Perry Mason seems like an odd fit for the network, since the lead character isn’t the type of protagonist who normally engages in either violence or sexuality. In fact, Gardner’s original Perry Mason stories seem to go out of their way to avoid sharing details about his personal life.
Presumably the new Perry Mason series will have some kind of modern spin, even with the period setting. At this point, there’s no production commitment, so it may be a while before we even see a pilot episode from HBO.
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