Actor John Lithgow is joining the cast of HBO’s limited series Perry Mason, which hails from executive producers Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, otherwise known as Team Downey. Based on Erle Stanley Gardener’s famous character Perry Mason, the limited series stars Matthew Rhys (The Americans) in the titular role. The project began to be developed in 2017 with Downey Jr. set for the lead role, but it was announced that Downey Jr.’s feature schedule would preclude him from starring in the miniseries. Matthew Rhys was announced to be stepping in for Downey Jr., and now John Lithow has been officially brought onboard for Perry Mason. Lithgow will portray Elias Birchard “E.B.” Jonathan, an attorney who will mentor the series’ lead character and assist with the investigation of a child kidnapping.
Lithgow is a 73 year-old actor who continues to be relevant in film and television. Back in 1983 and 1984, Lithgow was nominated for Oscars for The World Accord to Garp and Terms of Endearment. A decade earlier, Lithgow as awarded his first Tony for The Changing Room. In 2017, he earned a Primetime Emmy for his work in Netflix’s The Crown. This year, Lithgow has appeared in feature films Late Night and Pet Sematary and will portray Roger Ailies in Jay Roach’s untitled drama about the Fox News Founder, featuring performances from Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, and Charlize Theron.
The upcoming HBO period drama will be directed by Tim Van Patten, who is known for having directed episodes for immensely popular series like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Deadwood, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and The Pacific.
According to HBO, the series is “set in 1932 Los Angeles” and “will focus on the origin story of famed defense lawyer Perry Mason, based on characters from Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels. Living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator, Mason is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and suffering the effects of a broken marriage.”Lithgow joins an impressive cast that includes Tatiana Maslany, Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcon, Jefferson Mays, Gayle Rankin, and Lili Taylor. As Lithgow approaches his mid-70s, his new role in the HBO series will only continue to establish him as one of Hollywood’s most recognizable and versatile performers.