For Robert Downey Jr., ‘The Judge’ a family affair
LOS ANGELES - Robert Downey Jr. thinks courtrooms are dull.
That didn’t stop the “The Avengers’’ leading man from landing on “The Judge’’ as the inaugural film from his production company Team Downey, which he formed with his wife, Susan. Other than the 2010 buddy comedy “Due Date,’’ the legal family drama marks Downey’s first movie in five years that doesn’t star the actor as either Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes.
In the film, directed by “Wedding Crashers’’ filmmaker David Dobkin, Downey plays a Chicago lawyer who returns to his small Indiana hometown to attend his mother’s funeral. While there, Downey’s stubborn motor-mouth becomes enmeshed in a criminal case involving his more stubborn father, the town’s judge, portrayed by Robert Duvall.
“I’ve done lawyers before and it’s like, ‘Dude, really? Courtrooms? So boring,’’’ Downey recently acknowledged over a cup of coffee. “The idea David [Dobkin] had was that a lawyer would be able to get his father - when he’s sworn in - to tell the truth. How could you not take advantage of that, with his life on the line and all the stuff that’s happened between them?’’
After saving the world as Tony Stark in four Marvel films, Downey said he wasn’t necessarily looking to make the 180-degree turn that he does in “The Judge,’’ out next Friday. Downey and Susan, a longtime producer he first met on the set of the 2003 thriller “Gothika,’’ were merely drawn to the story.
“I think we’re a good partnership,’’ he said. “She works really closely with the director, as do I, obviously. She’s really smart, pretty and calm - for the most part. That’s just a winning combination. I’ve seen this before with directors who have partners that produce.’’
Dobkin, known for goofy comedies like “Fred Claus’’ and “The Change-Up,’’ always envisioned Downey in the role.
“The first week this story came to me, I started writing it, and I first thought of Robert,’’ said Dobkin, who was initially inspired by the loss of his own mother. “When I brought (screenwriter) Nick Schenk on, I told him this was for Robert. Everyone wrote toward Robert, and then obviously Robert got involved and wrote toward Robert.” AP