Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Robert Downey Jr as Perry Mason

So much happening in the Mystery ReMake World, but this one is right out of left field. Variety reports that Warner Bros and Team Downey are teaming to relaunch the "Perry Mason" franchise as a feature film, with Robert Downey Jr. as the title defense attorney role.

Like the original series of books by Erle Stanley Gardner, "Perry Mason" will be set in early 1930s Los Angeles, and feature fan favorites such as Mason's secretary, Della Street, private investigator Paul Drake, and Mason's longtime courtroom nemesis, Hamilton Burger.
The producers are currently looking for a writer, whose script will be based on an original story by Robert Downey Jr. and Gambino. Estate attorney Horacek negotiated the rights deal on behalf of Paisano Prods.


Gardner's 82 "Perry Mason" novels and dozens of short stories have been published in 37 languages worldwide. With book sales exceeding 425 million, Gardner, who mentored both Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett early in the careers, surpassed them both in sales, even combined. At the height of his popularity, Gardner sold an average of 26,000 "Perry Mason" books per day.

A "Perry Mason" radio series began in 1937, running 3,257 episodes, and there were 34 two-hour telepics and six feature films beginning in the 1930s from Warners. But the character is perhaps best known as the protag of the popular TV show starring Raymond Burr, which ran on CBS from 1957 to 1966 and featured memorable theme music composed by Fred Steiner. The series still plays everyday in 87 languages around the world.

Robert Downey Jr., who next stars in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," is currently reprising his role as Iron Man in Marvel's "The Avengers." 

I love Robert Downey Jr, and I do think he has great range, but Raymond Burr will always be Perry Mason to me.


Hat Tip: OmniMysterynews.com

6 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Janet - Agreed! I honestly can't see Robert Downey, Jr. as Perry Mason...

Richard R. said...

Me, too. I have trouble seeing anyone else as Mason. I'm also pretty sure they will warp the books, cheap out the TV series set-ups and go their own way, because, after all, it's all about box office, isn't it? Bah. Leave well enough alone. The only good thing I can see here is that maybe some new people will buy the TV series on DVD.

Janet A said...

Well, I agree, Raymond Burr is Perry Mason. Yet Robert Downey Jr., how can you not love him in any part. He is just wonderful in anything he does. And at least it isn't Tom Cruise.

John said...

Burr may have cemented the role on TV and firmly placed in our minds what Perry Mason looks like and acts like, but when I read the four books from the earliest part of the series I pictured someone dashing, smart alecky, a little bit sexy, and tough. He's supposed to be something of a player, too. All the women - especially Della - are always falling all over him and flirting with him. Mason in the books is not the monotoned, stern, and nearly emotionless man absent of all sex appeal that Raymond Burr made him. I think Downey is very close to how I pictured Mason. He's closer to Mason than Johnny Depp is to Nick Charles anyway.

Auntie Knickers said...

Can't help wondering if the "Gambino" referred to is Peter Gambino, Cece Caruso's fiance in Susan Kandel's mystery series which includes "I Dreamed I married Perry Mason." ???

Auntie Knickers said...

Can't help wondering if the "Gambino" referred to is Peter Gambino, CEce Caruso's fiance in Susan Kandel's mystery series, which includes "I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason."