Robert Downey Jr. is slated to produce a new Showtime drama set at a drug rehab facility in Venice Beach, California, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed. Team Downey will produce alongside Sony TV and the series’ creator, Gary Lennon. The show will take place in 1983 and follow the goings-on at a rehab community where it can be surprisingly easy to find drugs and alcohol. The news was first reported by Deadline.
Lennon has also written for Orange Is the New Black and Justified. No other details, such as whether Downey Jr. himself could appear on the as-yet-untitled show, are currently known.
While he’s now best known for portraying the Marvel action hero Iron Man, Downey Jr. was for years a troubled but acclaimed actor. His own personal struggles with heroin and cocaine addiction twice landed him in court-ordered rehab. One of the top performances of the actor’s pre-comeback career was playing a junkie in 1987′s Less Than Zero.
In the not-so-distant past it would have been a bit ridiculous to suggest that a star of Downey Jr.’s caliber would take the time to appear on the small screen, but television is currently in what some critics have referred to as a golden era, taking more risks and often producing higher-quality material than what is being seen in theaters. Matthew McConaughey’s recent role in True Detective is considered by many to be a career-making performance, and the actor just won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club.
Some film projects coming up for Downey Jr. include reprising his roles in the popular Avengers and Sherlock Holmes franchises, as well as the upcoming drama The Judge. That film stars Downey Jr. as a successful lawyer who returns to his hometown to attend his mother’s funeral only to discover that his father, the town’s judge, has been accused of murder. Robert Duvall plays the father, and Leighton Meester, Vera Farmiga, and Billy Bob Thornton co-star.
While the Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes movies are fun and make ridiculous amounts of cash at the box office, they aren’t exactly critically acclaimed films. The Judge sees the actor attempting a more serious project for the first time since 2009′s The Soloist. The film is being released on October 10, just in time for awards season consideration, so studio Warner Bros. clearly has some high hopes for The Judge.
Downey Jr. was nominated for his second Academy Award for his performance in 2008′s Tropic Thunder, and the actor could be courting the Academy again this year with The Judge after spending time over the past several years making blockbusters. If this Showtime series is a well-written piece of television, it could do as much if not more to boost Downey Jr.’s career.
Showtime’s current lineup includes the critically acclaimed series Penny Dreadful and Masters of Sex, as well as the soon-to-end Californication.
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