Richard Linklater to Direct Robert Downey Jr. in Medical Scam Comedy
For a dude who has explicitly espoused the virtues of chilling across several of his films, Richard Linklater’s been a pretty tireless director as of late. He completed his Before trilogy with Before Midnight in 2013, finally showed the world Boyhood in 2014, caught his breath and presumably enjoyed a few cold ones in 2015, returned last year with Everybody Wants Some!!, and is slated for another release this year, the Bryan Cranston-led war picture Last Flag Flying. And Linklater still shows no signs of slowing down, as a new announcement from Annapurna Pictures revealed this morning that the filmmaker’s next next picture has already been squared away and has a star to match.
The premise for Linklater’s still-untitled 2018 project comes to us courtesy of the Reply All podcast, a running commentary on how technology and the people that use it shape one another. Last month saw the release of an episode titled “Man of the People,” the true chronicle of a medical con man named Dr. John Brinkley and his efforts to fleece the American people during the early 20th century using the then-novel invention of radio. He perpetuated a sweeping scam involving the surgical replacement of goat testicles (it makes more sense when you hear the podcast), until an American Medical Association official by the name of Dr. Morris Fishbein began a decade-long campaign to expose Brinkley as a fraud.
The whole setup smacks of Bernie, Linklater’s 2011 film about a different sort of professional putting a long con over on unsuspecting folks. And just as that film had to have Jack Black onboard to get the green light, the “Man of the People” adaptation has the star power of Downey Jr. behind it. Downey would play Brinkley, and the production would presumably land a comparable A-lister for the role of the good Dr. Fishbein. A new Linklater production is reason to sit up and take notice, and this one sounds like a hoot to boot.