Robert Downey Jr. to Sing for His Supper

02/26/2002 at 11:00 AM EST

On his latest road back to recovery, Robert Downey Jr. has chosen his first movie role since 2000's "Wonder Boys." Variety reports that the troubled actor, 36, is going to star in a wide-screen remake of the respected 1986 BBC miniseries "The Singing Detective." The production is scheduled to begin filming on April 23 and will be financed by Mel Gibson's Icon Productions. Downey's most recent role was that of the title character's love interest on Fox TVs "Ally McBeal." Though he was nominated for an Emmy for the part, and won both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for it, he left the show following brushes with the law due to his recurrent drug problems. According to Variety, Downey has been offered a number of movies, but he has chosen to work with Gibson, a friend and his costar in 1990's "Air America." "The Singing Detective," written by the late Dennis Potter (who also wrote "Pennies from Heaven," a 1978 BBC series that became the 1981 movie by the same name, starring Steve Martin), starred Michael Gambon on the BBC. He played a tormented novelist bedridden with a debilitating case of psoriasis. Most of the action takes place inside the character's fever-plagued brain as he reworks his first book, "The Singing Detective," and becomes the hero of his tale, pursuing Nazis in the 1940s.

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