Thesp and his producer wife negotiating first-look deal
Warner Bros. is in talks to sign Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, producer Susan Downey, to a first-look production deal.Studio’s also inked Zac Efron to a two-year producing deal. Robert Downey starred in the studio’s “Sherlock Holmes,” on which Susan Downey was a producer along with Lionel Wigram, Dan Lin and Joel Silver. “Sherlock” has outperformed expectations, with worldwide grosses topping $460 million and the studio’s developing a sequel. The thesp has also starred in several other Warner projects including “Zodiac,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and the upcoming “Due Date,” directed by Todd Phillips. He’ll be seen next in “Iron Man 2,” opening in early May. Susan Downey is a veteran production exec with Silver Pictures with recent credits on “White Out,” “Orphan” and “Rocknrolla.” The Downeys married in 2005. As for Efron, he’s a known quantity at Warner Bros. having starred in a pair of New Line Cinema projects, “17 Again” and “Hairspray.” Warner’s been attempting for several years to develop the “Jonny Quest” project as a starring vehicle for Efron. The studio has also been developing “Algorithm,” a sci-fi project with Efron in mind. Efron, who broke out via Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise, most recently appeared in the Richard Linklater drama “Me and Orson Welles” opposite Claire Danes. He’ll next appear in the titular role of “Charlie St. Cloud” for Universal Pictures, slated for release Oct. 15. Efron’s manager Jason Barrett of Alchemy Entertainment will be an exec producer on the star’s projects at Warner Bros. In addition to the deals for the Downeys and Efron, Warner also is in negotiations with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon for a first-look deal.