Exclusive: Perry Mason Movie Update From Screenwriter Marc Guggenheim

Robert Downey Jr.'s adaptation of the hit TV series won't turn into another Sherlock Holmes, says the screenwriter.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Marc Guggenheim was at the Television Critics Association press tour for the CW day as producer of their new series “Arrow.” We got a quick update on his screenplay for the Perry Mason movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. The character is best known as the TV lawyer played by Ramond Burr. 

Downey has played a crime solver before, and his Sherlock Holmes movies make the sleuth more of an action hero. Guggenheim said Mason will stick to the courtroom, but also show Mason’s life outside the halls of justice.

“The thing we’re always talking about is it has to be true to the nature of the character,” Guggenheim told us exclusively. “We’re not going to force in action that doesn’t belong in the movie. It’s a different kind of movie than Sherlock Holmes. We’re taking a much more character-based approach. It’s a courtroom drama so it’s a different animal. The courtroom stuff is part of what makes Perry Mason Perry Mason, but there’s also a lot of the movie that takes place outside the courtroom.”

We got a little more background on the project, though the below is not exclusive to CraveOnline. But with Downey’s reputation for improvising, Guggenheim said the Perry Mason screenplay could be firmer before principal photography begins.

“Here’s the thing, Guggenheim told a small group of reporters. “He’s a producer on the movie as well as a star in it, so his involvement with the script is a lot more intense. Typically he’ll get a script and then improv through. Now the improv is built into the recipe because he’s giving notes on the script and we’re talking out story and what not. So I think it’s pretty important, especially since we’re also recreating this character, this well-established character and Robert’s got very specific ideas as to how he wants to play him and who he wants that guy to be. I also think that while Robert is known for improv’ing a lot, there’s still a lot of work the writers on the scripts that he’s worked on have done.”

CraveOnline will have more on the Perry Mason movie after the judge approves our continuance.