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Currently one of the biggest movie stars in the world - and certainly among the highest-earning entertainers out there - Robert Downey Jr. has had two major TV career paths in the past, but its this upcoming third prospect that could be his biggest small screen effort yet. The actor is currently working with True Detective creator Nic Pizzollatto for an upcoming drama on that most prestigious of cable networks, HBO. I need one of those Iron Man suits to fly by and pinch me right now.
While publicists for both Nic Pizzolatto and Robert Downey Jr. haven't offered up official comments, with HBO also staying silent, Variety reports that there are informative murmurs about this new project. Surprisingly enough, this could be a TV take on the Perry Mason project that Downey Jr. has rallied for over the years, though it's been a while since we heard about any forward progress about it. And this definitely isn't where we thought that progress was headed, but it's not at all disappointing.
If this early news is indeed pointed in the correct direction, this won't just be a TV film, but rather a full series. (Or whatever HBO decides is a full series, which could mean any number of episodes.) That's definitely comforting, as getting Robert Downey Jr. back to TV should be something that lasts as long as possible. And this is apparently not a new deal being approached, since it has reportedly been in development at HBO since around May. It's unclear if that's a bad sign or not, but I'd assume that the project getting announced is a reason for optimism.
Optimism for Downey Jr. possibly playing Perry Mason, that is. If Pizzolatto is going to be busy, or has already been busy, writing up this new project, fans of True Detective might fall onto the pessimistic side of the spectrum. After all, HBO has been waffling on whether Season 3 will ever come into existence or not, with everything coming down to Pizzolatto and network execs agreeing on a direction. And probably a direction that's geared more toward Season 1 than the far less acclaimed sophomore effort. And now I'm just thinking about Downey Jr. taking on a role in a season of True Detective, paired up with Matthew McConaughey, and I may soon burst into flames.
Amazingly, it's been 15 years since Downey Jr. showed up on television in live-action; he voiced Patrick Pewterschmidt in an episode of Family Guy in 2005. You'll recall the baby face seen above opposite Calista Flockhart in the influential Fox dramedy Ally McBeal from 2000-2001. (Apparently he just really wants to continue playing a lawyer on TV.) Before that, he was a temporary cast member on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s, when he was barely into adulthood. He wasn't the worst part of the completely forgettable season, but he wasn't invited back for a good reason. Luckily, he honed his craft a ton in the following years.
So we obviously have no idea what kind of a timeline this project is going to stick to, considering Robert Downey Jr. is still keeping himself busy inside the Iron Man suit for Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as other future flicks.