Today in Good Luck With That news, Robert Downey, Jr. might star in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic, Vertigo. Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is (re)writing the screenplay, and Paramount, which distributed the original film, has the rights to the remake. RDJ and his wife, Susan Downey, are producing through their Team Downey banner, but RDJ’s presence as an actor isn’t guaranteed yet, so this is technically hypothetical, and please, let it remain so. Did we learn nothing from Ben Wheatley’s dead boring Rebecca remake? You can’t top Hitchcock! He did what he did to perfection, it’s a waste of everyone’s time trying to redo it. The only good Hitchcock remake is that SNL sketch about The Birds.
RDJ hasn’t found his post-Marvel groove yet, but between this, the Perry Mason remake he doesn’t star in, but does produce, and Dolittle—remember Dolittle?!—it sure feels like RDJ’s thing now is “remaking stuff I liked as a kid”. Maybe if Oppenheimer hits this summer, it will redirect his energy away from remakes, since he doesn’t actually have a lot of luck with them (see also: DOLITTLE). To be fair, though, RDJ has struggled for years to define himself outside of Marvel, whether it’s original movies like The Judge that don’t hit with audiences or remakes that get away from him, like Perry Mason, or even his genuinely good but underappreciated Sherlock Holmes movies with Jude Law, audiences have yet to accept him in a non-Tony Stark role.
The solution is obvious, of course: TV. Have we forgotten how GREAT he was on Ally McBeal? RDJ needs his own Succession. Give him a juicy role in an eight-part comedy-drama and see what happens. I think this is what Perry Mason was supposed to be, but the timing didn’t work out and now Matthew Rhys stars in that series (season two started earlier this month). Back when RDJ guest starred on Ally McBeal, it was part of his comeback, or was supposed to be, and it was humbling that a Movie Star would appear on a network series. Now, though, the line between TV and movies is virtually non-existent, and these days television draws bigger audiences for adult-oriented storytelling than movies do. RDJ needs a prestige series to play a sly murderer or morally bankrupt late-stage capitalist or overworked teacher or similar and remind everyone he’s not actually Tony Stark. Just for the love of the gods old and new, don’t waste everyone’s time remaking Vertigo.
Live long and gossip,