Warner Bros. has tapped “The King’s Speech” screenwriter David Seidler to rewrite family drama “The Judge” and brought on Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey to produce via their Warner-based Team Downey banner.
Warners had already been developing “The Judge,” based on Nick Schenk’s original script, with David Dobkin (director and producer of “The Change-Up”) attached to produce and direct.
Story centers on a big-city lawyer who returns home after the death of his mother to learn that his estranged father, a judge, is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.
Downey — who’s not signed to star in “The Judge” — has wrapped on “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows” and is set to topline “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3.”
Seidler is also set up to write the sports drama “Games of 1940” in partnership with writer Luca Manzi at Kennedy/Marshall Co. and Brazil-based RT Features, which is funding development.
“Games” is based on the true story story of POWs in a Nazi prison camp who staged an Olympics-style competition after the 1940 Games were canceled.
Seidler and Manzi came up with the idea for “Games of 1940” several years ago from an exhibit at a Warsaw sports museum while they were developing a German-Italian TV production about the siege of Vienna.
Producers on “Games of 1940” are Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy along with RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira and Fernando Loureiro. Seidler’s manager Jeff Aghassi is exec producing.
Seidler, who won the Oscar for original screenplay for “The King’s Speech,” stuttered as a child and noted during awards season that he was inspired during the war by George VI overcoming his stammer.
“The Judge” is the third Warners project for Team Downey, which was set up just more than a year ago. The other two pics at the studio are “Yucatan,” an action-adventure heist pic developed by the late Steve McQueen, and a musical based on a pitch by “Next to Normal” composers Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt.
Banner is also working with Sony to develop Neil Strauss’ nonfiction tome “Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life.”
Dobkin’s directing credits include “Fred Claus” and “Wedding Crashers.”
UTA and Aghassi rep Seidler. UTA also represents RT Features.