Sr.: A new documentary feature about Robert Downey Sr. has been picked up by Netflix

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A new documentary about Robert Downey Jr.’s dad, Robert Downey Sr., has been picked up by Netflix.

This is great news for the feature, as The Hollywood Reporter says that the film will “receive a full-fledged Oscar push”, but it’s great for audiences too, as more people will now be able to watch the forthcoming film.

Sr. explores the life of anti-establishment filmmaker Downey Sr., who died from Parkinson’s in 2021. It focuses on the relationship between the maverick filmmaker, who in the documentary is making his own documentary about his life, and his Marvel Universe-starring son. The father and son’s relationship is front and centre of the film, making it a particularly poignant and fascinating picture.

Downey Sr. was both a filmmaker and actor but was best known for his satirical Sixties indie films. His most notable work was his 1969 film Putney Swope, which probed corporate corruption, race in Hollywood and advertising, and has been deemed so culturally important that the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in its National Film Registry in 2016.

Sr. has been directed by five-time Emmy nominee filmmaker Chris Smith, who won the 1999 Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance for his film American Movie, and who more recently made Fyre, a documentary about the failed Bahamian island festival. Downey Jr. is listed as a producer and the film is a collaboration between his Team Downey production company and Library Films (who also made Fyre).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Downey Jr. will also be following the film as it makes its “campaign trail”, with its next screening set for the New York Film Festival in October. The film, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in California earlier this month, is reportedly set to be released on Netflix before the end of the year.

This isn’t the first time that Netflix and Team Downey have worked together: in 2021 they released Sweet Tooth, a fantasy drama based on Jeff Lemire’s comic book series, which has been renewed for a second season.

In a statement, the Downeys 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.”

Speaking about the experience of making the film, director Smith said: “Larger than life, but open and human as ever, it was such a pleasure and life-affirming experience to capture some glimpses of the highs, lows, and everything in between.”

In its review, Variety added, “It seems a bit perverse that such intimate footage should be edited into something for the public to see, and yet, insanely specific as this family history may be, Sr. packs a wallop in the end.”