Hollywood: Now making movies for grandparents! Robert Downey Jr.‘s production team and Warner Brothers are currently trying to relaunch Perry Mason for the big screen, with Downey eyeing the lead role, according to Variety. Nothing else is set, but we’ve seen a number of these sorts of projects lately, with Johnny Depp on The Thin Man, Fox relaunching Mr. Ed, and now this.
And what we’re witnessing is the extent of branding and its borderline-corrosive effects on Hollywood. It’s much easier to get a project going that’s called Perry Mason with Robert Downey Jr. than it is a random lawyer movie starring him. Why? Because the name Perry Mason is familiar, even if the audience hasn’t seen the show. That makes executives happy, and everyone knows that you only have to do lip service to the original.But from a creative point of view it suggests that the industry is afraid of doing something original, which means it will have to remake remakes in 2035.
The Variety story suggests that the film may be done as a period piece – with the film set in the 1930′s – which may be done because it avoids the traps of cell phones and DNA evidence. Those things make it harder to not only create mysteries but also feel television. But that then turns this into a film that costs $200 Million before a page is shot. We shall see.
Did you see Perry Mason growing up? For me it was always on at noon when I stayed home sick as a kid and was boring as all get out.