Robert Downey Jr. Crashes ATX Panel for Perry Mason

Robert Downey Jr. crashed the ATX Television Festival panel for Perry Mason. He came through at the last second to thrill the crowd. ATX streamed the event on YouTube and the Marvel actor and his wife Susan Downey, who is executive producing the show, popped up. TV Guide’s Jim Halterman was moderating the festivities and asked the cast and crew about a possible release date for the iconic legal drama. After an hour of talking, the Iron Man actor told the moderator, “I'll take this one, Jim." Everyone seemed to be quite surprised by the reveal and the actor’s sudden introduction. Downey tossed in the zinger that he had “been on my heels for 92 minutes" while watching the panel nearby.

"First, I'd like to say the usual: you're welcome," Downey laughed, and then switched gears to mention that Perry Mason couldn’t have “ended up in more capable hands. And for that, I’m very grateful.” The Iron Man star then announced the show's June 21 premiere. Downey added, "That's the slot, by the way. That 9 p.m. Sunday slot, that's the good one."

The Marvel star also joked that sitting in the crowd all that time had its perks. He quipped, "sitting here this whole time, this long format, I actually understand what the show's about now, so thank you."

Susan Downey began the panel with some comments about how she began developing the series about five years ago. There is quite a bit of Perry Mason material hanging around. Erie Stanley Gardner kept really busy crafting cases. Downey also mentioned that she wanted to "not have the Perry everybody knows." Matthew Rhys, best known for that stint on The Americans, couldn’t have agreed more.

"They pitched this very dark Mason, that came with a lot of baggage," the actor explains. "[He's] very much an outsider, which I found very interesting. So much of the backstory is presented and is given, from his time as a WWI veteran, his family problems, his inherited land problems, the new Los Angeles emerging, he's got a lot on his shoulders."

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Perry Mason stars Rhys alongside John Lithgow, Tatiana Maslany and Shea Whigham. The series is coming up on Sunday, June 21. Perry Mason will be available to stream on HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max.

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