Robert Downey Jr. has announced plans for a new movie, and no, it’s not Iron Man 4. Downey will be re-teaming with Boyhood director Richard Linklater on a movie adaptation of the real-life story of infamous quack doctor John R. Brinkley. The movie will be adapted from a Reply-All podcast episode “Man of the People,” an investigative episode that covers the story of how Brinkley used the power of the radio to promote his goat gland transportation operations, which he claimed would cure male impotence.
The untitled feature film on the notorious charlatan will mark the second collaboration between Robert Downey Jr. and Richard Linklater. The two have previously worked together on Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly, a dystopian sci-fi thriller adapted from a Philip K. Dick novel. The movie starred Downey along with Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Woody Harrelson.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie will focus on Brinkley, who amassed millions through his fraudulent practices, and the quest of Dr. Morris Fishbein, a physician and the editor of the journal of the America Medical Association, who sought to expose Brinkley and bring him down. The Brinkley film will be produced by Annapurna Pictures and Team Downey, the company founded by Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan Downey. It will also be co-produced by Linklater through his Detour Filmproduction banner.
Linklater’s adaptation of the story of John R. Brinkley won’t be the first time the life of the quack doctor has made it the big screen. Nuts!, an inventive 2016 documentary by filmmaker Jenny Lane, also documented the life and career of Brinkley.
So far, there has been no details regarding what role Downey will play in the movie. While it’s fair to assume that Downey would play a lead role in the movie, no information has been released yet regarding whether the actor will star in the role of John R. Brinkley or Brinkley’s nemesis, Morris Fishbein. On paper, the role of Brinkley, a man who was able to use his persuasiveness and his media savviness to become a celebrity doctor and millionaire (he also almost became the Governor of Indiana), seems well-suited for Downey, who has made a later-stage career out of playing glib, self-assured, and highly intelligent men à la Tony Stark/Iron Man.
Downey’s embodiment of Iron Man in the Marvel franchise has been vital in resuscitating his career, and the actor will reprise his role in the upcoming films Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War. After the filming of Infinity War wraps up, however, there is less certainty regarding whether Downey will continue to commit himself to the role of Iron Man, according to Cinema Blend. So far, there has been no official news from Marvel concerning the possibility of an Iron Man 4 and whether or not Downey will continue to play the titular character.
Apart from the Richard Linklater film and upcoming Marvel installments, Downey also has a couple of projects in the works. According to Variety, Downey is eager to get Sherlock Holmes 3 off the ground, and last October, a writers’ room was reported to have been set up to write the story for the Sherlock Holmes sequel. Another Variety article has also reported that Team Downey also has plans with HBO to produce a Perry Manson TV series, but so far, there hasn’t been many updates surrounding this long-gestating project of Downey’s.
[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]