“The Americans” alum Matthew Rhys has signed on to star in the “Perry Mason” limited series currently in the works at HBO, Variety has learned.
The series hails from executive producers Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey under their Team Downey banner, with Team Downey’s Amanda Burrell also executive producing. The project was originally put into development in 2016 with Downey Jr. set for the lead role and Nic Pizzolatto writing. However, it was announced last year that Downey Jr.’s feature schedule would prevent him from starring in the series, while Pizzolatto focused his efforts on Season 3 of “True Detective.” Joe Horacek will also executive produce with Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald onboard as writers, executive producers, and co-showrunners.
The project remains in development at HBO. The search for a director is ongoing.
Rhys’ Perry Mason is described as being at a time in his life when he is living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator. He is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and is suffering the effects of a broken marriage.
The series will be set in 1932 Los Angeles. Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer. When a child kidnapping case breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
Rhys will serve as a producer on the Perry Mason project in addition to starring. He just wrapped up the final season of the critically-acclaimed FX drama series “The Americans” opposite Keri Russell. For his performance, he recently won best actor in a drama series at the 2019 Critics’ Choice Awards. His other nominations for the role include two Golden Globe Awards and three Primetime Emmy Awards, winning the Emmy in the show’s sixth and final season for best actor in a drama series. Rhys is also known for his starring role in the ABC series “Brothers & Sisters” and for guest starring on the HBO series “Girls.”
On the film side, Rhys recently wrapped shooting the lead role in the Mr. Rogers biopic “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” opposite Tom Hanks. He also appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “The Post.”
Rhys is repped by WME, Management 360, United Agents, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
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