Netflix has acquired “Sr.,” a new documentary feature about independent filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. and is expected to promote it as an Oscar candidate this year. The film, directed by Chris Smith, premiered earlier this month at the Telluride Film Festival.
Downey, who died in 2021 at the age of 85, is best known for his 1969 film “Putney Swope,” which poked fun at the advertising industry. He also directed the documentary “Rittenhouse Square,” as well as “Hugo Pool, Too Much Sun,” and several episodes of The Twilight Zone.
In making the announcement about the new film, Team Downey said: “We’re grateful to have Netflix partner with us on this highly personal project. They’re the ideal home for our unconventional, oft absurd, brutally in-depth homage.”
Expressing his enthusiasm for the project, director Chris Smith added: “On the first day of filming, Sr. said ‘trust anything, and anything can happen’ — and that ended up being the guiding light for the project. What started as a straightforward documentary quickly devolved into anything but. Knowing what I know now, it’s really the only way you could attempt to make something on the two Downeys. Larger than life but open and human as ever, it was such a pleasure and life affirming experience to try to capture some glimpses of the highs, lows and everything in-between.”
His son, Robert Downey, Jr., is one of the producers of “Sr.,” which will be screened at the New York Film Festival on October 10 and 11. The junior Downey made his film debut at the age of five in “Pound,” one of his father’s films. He portrayed Tony Stark in ten films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Iron Man (2008) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019). He will be playing the role of Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s biopic “Oppenheimer,” to be released in the near future.
“Sr.” is being coproduced by Team Downey and Library Films. Chris Smith, who’s been nominated five times for an Emmy, had earlier directed several projects for Netflix, including” Fute,” “Bad Vegan,” “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond,” and “Operation Varsity Blues.”