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Matthew Rhys to play Perry Mason in upcoming HBO limited series

Criminal defense lawyer Perry Mason has appeared in novels, short stories, feature films, and radio shows, but the best known adaptation of the character created by Erle Stanley Gardner is the long-running TV series which starred Raymond Burr in the leading role. There have been several attempts at rebooting Perry Mason in recent years but the latest incarnation will be an HBO limited series which will star Matthew Rhys (The Americans) as Perry Mason.

The upcoming series will be produced under Robert Downey Jr.'s Team Downey banner, which makes sense as the actor has been wanting to get a Perry Mason film and/or TV series off the ground for years. Downey Jr. was originally attached to play Perry Mason himself when the project was first set up at HBO several years ago (with True Detective's Nic Pizzolatto set to write), but when it became clear he wouldn't have time to act in the series, they began the search for another actor to take the role. Matthew Rhys' take on Perry Mason will find the character at a time in his life when he's living pay-cheque to pay-cheque as a low-rent private investigator, all while being haunted by his wartime experiences in France and suffering the effects of a broken marriage. Here's the official logline:

1932, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.

With Matthew Rhys now onboard, the search is on for a director to helm the series, after which it's expected to head straight into production. Rolin Jones (Boardwalk Empire) and Ron Fitzgerald (Westworld) will write and executive produce the Perry Mason series as well as serve as showrunners.

Source: Deadline

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