Jack Nicholson Courted to Play Robert Downey Jr.'s Father

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for AFI

David Dobkin is attached to direct "The Judge" for Warner Bros., which is hoping the picky 75-year-old star will sign on.

Warner Bros. is hoping that Jack Nicholson steps into the courtroom for The Judge, a dramedy that will star and is being developed by Robert Downey Jr.

Warners is actively courting the notoriously picky Nicholson with an unofficial offer to play Downey’s father. The script, originally penned by Nick Schenk with a rewrite by Bill Dubuque, is also now in his hands.

Downey is on board to star as a successful attorney who returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral only to discover that his estranged and Alzheimer's-stricken father, the town's judge, is the murder suspect. The man sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

The Iron Man star is producing The Judge with his Team Downey cohorts Susan Downey and David Gambino. Also producing is David Dobkin, who is attached to direct Judge, and his producing partner Jeff Kleeman.

Downey recently wrapped Iron Man 3 and has an open schedule up into next year. Insiders say he is intent on making Judge his next movie.

The question is whether Nicholson will commit. The actor has made only three movies since 2003 -- two of them, 2006’s The Departed and 2007’s The Bucket List -- for Warner Bros.

With Departed, Nicholson first turned down the part of mobster Frank Costello several times. It took meetings with star Leonardo DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese to convince him to sign on.

But meetings are not always successful. Nicholson, 75, this summer passed on a project that would have reunited him with his Something's Gotta Give writer-director Nancy Meyers after meeting with her.

Sources say that Downey is to meet Nicholson later this week.

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