From his early beginnings as an independent filmmaker, writer/director Richard Linklater has piloted an impressive self-taught career. Initially the voice of teens and 20-somethings throughout the 1990s, Linklater developed his own cinematic style that probed the issue of what he called “the youth rebellion continuum”. And while his first few films didn’t make him a household name, the arrival of Dazed and Confused in 1993 set the filmmaker on a new career path.
It was this career path that grew exponentially with time, all while staying true to the indie feel that Linklater’s films have always exuded. With three different films of his having been nominated for Oscars over the years - and one of those films, 2014’s Boyhood having won an Oscar – Linklater is busier than ever developing new projects and working with some of Hollywood’s biggest and most enduring stars.
One such actor getting set to work with Richard Linklater is Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. As confirmed by THR, Downey Jr will star in Linklater’s currently untitled upcoming con-man film. Based on a true story, the film will follow the exploits of Dr. John Brinkley, a man who despite having no real medical credentials, enjoyed a successful career as a doctor, radio pioneer and politician in the early years of the 20th century. Dubious of Brinkley’s legitimacy, Doctor Morris Fishbein, then editor of the American Medical Association’s journal, takes on a 10-year effort to discredit and stop Brinkley. At present there’s no word on which role Downey Jr. will play.
The story of Dr. John Brinkley was originally an episode of Gimlet Media’s Reply All podcast, entitled Man of the People. Both Linklater and Downey Jr. will produce the film – Linklater through his Detour Filmproduction company and Downey Jr. through Team Downey. The announcement that Downey Jr. and Linklater will work together comes at a time when both men have a lot on their respective plates. Linklater is currently finishing up production on his next film, Last Flag Flying, which will star Laurence Fishburne (John Wick: Chapter 2), Bryan Cranston (Why Him?) and Steve Carell. Downey Jr., meanwhile, has both the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming and next year’s The Avengers: Infinity War set for his wildly popular portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man.
Of course, there will be many die-hard Iron Man fans that see this news and groan. For these fans, the ideal Robert Downey career announcement begins and ends with Iron Man. And although there still is no confirmation as to what the future holds with regards to Downey Jr. and the Iron Man franchise, this latest pairing with Richard Linklater could really be something to look forward to. Downey Jr. has just the sort of onscreen charm and sense of humor to play a real life con man (if that is indeed the role he intends to play) and Linklater’s abilities as a successful, unique filmmaker are indisputable at this point.
It’s still very early days for this new Linklater/Downey Jr. production, but as things develop and more news finds its way to the public, there’s a strong likelihood that the film will receive no small amount of attention. Richard Linklater is not the sort of filmmaker who’s content with simply retelling a story, so here’s hoping that this pairing of two great Hollywood talents will result in something particularly entertaining and unique.
Screen Rant will keep you up to date on all the latest news on this project.