The Judge Locks Down Vincent D’Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton In Talks

Though it may have recently lost Jack Nicholson, David Dobkin’s The Judge is none the poorer for star power. Following the recent announcement of Nicholson’s replacement by Robert Duvall, Deadline has confirmed today that Vincent D’Onofrio has joined the project as Duvall’s son. His brother, to be played by Robert Downey Jr., will return home following their mother’s death and their father’s possible involvement as a prime suspect. Throw in said father’s Alzheimer’s and you’ve got a neat board upon which to pin performances from a typically dependable cast.

The film, whose scripting duties began with Gran Torino’s Nick Schenck and ended with The King’s Speech’s David Seidler, is also looking to add Billy Bob Thornton to its already-impressive lineup as the prosecutor for presumed courtroom scenes that ought to, on thespian merit alone, really light up the screen. Personally speaking, I’d take Robert Duvall over Jack Nicholson any day. It should be refreshing to see Downey Jr. break from the Iron Man mould for a while, however brief. The Judge seems like the sort of project he may have opted for more quickly before he became a household name a second time (for less ignominious reasons than the first).

The real reason my butt’s place is guaranteed in that seat, however, is D’Onofrio. Here’s a guy who’s responsible for one of the all-time great monster performances (in Barry Sonnenfeld’s fondly-remembered Men In Black) and whose star seemed set to skyrocket in the mid-to-late 90s and simply never did. Since then he’s made a name for himself with his marriage of imposing character and off-kilter image and I’m excited for him to be back in front of the sort of audience he deserves thanks to his role in the New Robert Downey Jr. Movie (all caps, of course).

Is The Judge something you’d go see, or are you happy merely to recall D’Onofrio’s face-stretching Will-Smith bothering Edgar antics from 16 years ago? Let us know below.

About the author