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It is becoming increasingly rare that we see Jack Nicholson onscreen, so even the possibility of him signing to play Robert Downey Jr.'s father in "The Judge" is a big deal.
There was a time when I thought of Nicholson and De Niro as the twin titans of American movie acting, and it seemed like they worked constantly. Age being the demanding master that it is, both men have slowed down in recent years and there are far fewer interesting roles written that they are right for, which could also be a big factor in why we see less of them.
De Niro has responded by cornering the market on the whole "hardass father" archetype, playing it for comic effect in the "Meet The Parents" series and playing it closer to real in the excellent "Silver Linings Playbook" or in "Being Flynn." Nicholson has responded by simply taking fewer roles. He was great in "The Departed," but "The Bucket List" felt to me like one of the easiest paychecks of his career.
I am intrigued by the notion of "The Judge," where Downey plays a lawyer who is called home to represent his Alzheimer's-patient father in a murder trial. It sounds like a big giant popcorn movie, especially with David Dobkin directing from Nick Schenk's script, and that's exactly the right kind of pairing to make material like this seem worthwhile or fresh. That role sounds like it was tailored to Robert Downey Jr.'s particular talents, and seeing him butt heads with Nicholson could be a lot of fun. Legal dramas like this are always about the fireworks in the courtroom and the twists and the turns of the case, and I'm curious to see how Downey and Nicholson play off of one another.
This is not set in stone yet, and according to Borys Kit, the meeting between Downey Jr. and Nicholson will take place later this week, and we should hear more after that.
In the meantime, "Iron Man 3" is on target to arrive in theaters May 3, 2013.