There's a whole generation that is oblivious to the fact that Robert Downey Jr. actually had a career before portraying billionaire philanthropist/superhero Tony Stark. Technically, I'm part of that generation (though I do strongly remember the fever dream that was Shaggy Dog).
Before he was capturing hearts while simultaneously turning his into a laser beam (Dr. Evil would be proud), our resident Iron Man was in a little show called Ally McBeal.
Before He Avenged, He Lawyered!
Ally McBeal was a legal dramedy series that ran from 1997 to 2002. It's all about the life of the titular character, as she joins a law firm that's made up of her ex-boyfriend and his wife. If you haven't seen it already, I'd highly recommend giving it a look!
RDJ portrayed Larry Paul, who wasn't Ally McBeal's ex, but instead her new love interest. You can check his character out in the video below, where he woos Ally with his great vocals and apparent tightness with a certain famous musician.
Robert Downey Jr. joined the show, which starred Calista Flockhart (who'd go on to become Supergirl's boss), for the show's fourth season. After the show ended, RDJ stuck to the big screen for future roles- although he wasn't offered many big film roles for a while, mainly due to his personal issues with addiction.
Things of course changed for the better in 2008, when Robert Downey Jr. helped kickstart the MCU and the modern superhero film genre all at once! Since then, he's never returned to television, and despite a couple of roles here and there, his main focus is certainly being the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
All of that's changing, it seems, as RDJ is finally returning to television with a brand new project on HBO. The project, which is being noted as a series, will be based on the old Perry Mason legal drama series from 1957, as well as its many TV films.
Perry Mason Is Coming Back!
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Robert Downey Jr. has been trying to get a Perry Mason reboot off the ground for a while now. He first tried to pitch it as a movie with Warner Bros. in 2011. News of that project spread quickly, but despite apparent interest, the it seemingly remained in "development hell".
Variety, who first reported the story, is stating that the Perry Mason project Robert Downey Jr. is currently working on is the same one from Warner Bros.- only envisioned as a series rather than feature-length film.
But who is Perry Mason, and why is RDJ trying so hard to get a film or series made about him? Well, Perry Mason is a character from a series of novels and detective stories by author Erie Stanley Gardner.
The Greatest Criminal Defense Lawyer!
He may not be as well known as Sherlock Holmes, but Perry Mason is the best criminal defense lawyer in all of fiction! He fights for justice and truth, and even when the odds are all stacked against him, he manages to solve the case.!
It's no wonder Robert Downey Jr. wants to revive such an interesting character. Hollywood itself has been fascinated with the character, giving him two series, and a total of 30 TV films!
Downey Jr. will reportedly be producing and starring in the series, with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto writing. Nothing's been confirmed yet, and both RDJ and Pizzolatto have yet to comment on their project. It makes sense for Perry Mason to be a new series rather than a film though. Not only is the original series much more revered than the movies, but right now, legal shows are in.
With millions of viewers from all over tuning in for shows like American Crime Story, Criminal Minds, Suits, and How To Get Away with Murder, the legal genre has never been stronger. If Robert Downey Jr. is working on a Perry Mason show, I'm sure it would get a lot of people interested!
Are you excited about RDJ's return to television? Let me know in the comments!