An ‘Emergency’ for Robert Downey Jr.

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He’s been Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chaplin and Iron Man. So it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Robert Downey Jr. to play a gun-toting, lock-picking, plane-flying, government-defying survivor.

Columbia Pictures announced Wednesday it had optioned the rights to Neil Strauss’ non-fiction 2009 bestseller ‘Emergency! This Book Will Save Your Life.’ The book is to be developed into a feature produced by Team Downey — that’s Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan Downey — and Michael DeLuca. The project is being considered as a vehicle for Downey. Allan Loeb (‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’) is writing the screenplay.


Strauss was a reporter and critic at the New York Times and currently writes for Rolling Stone as well as running the publishing company Igniter. His latest book, ‘Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead,’ will be published in March.

Columbia says ‘Emergency!’ is a tale of ‘paranoid fantasies and crippling doubts, of shady lawyers and dangerous cult leaders, of billionaire gun nuts and survivalist superheroes, of weirdoes, heroes, and ordinary citizens taking their families off the grid.’ The main character ‘learns to survive in the wild in order to save himself and his loved ones from an uncertain future.’

In a statement, Columbia Pictures President Matt Tolmach added: ‘Neil Strauss is a tremendous talent and we think ‘Emergency!’ is his best work yet. It’s a hugely entertaining read that couldn’t be more timely or topical. We think there is a fantastic film in this book and Robert and Susan, and of course, Mike are the perfect producers to take on the themes of this project.’

— Susan King