Robert Downey Jr. Exec Produces “Sunshine Place” Podcast Series

Robert Downey Jr. is Executive Producer of “The Sunshine Place,” an investigative podcast series about Synanon, the California-based experimental drug rehabilitation facility and community that has morphed into a dangerous and violent cult.

It is the first podcast production for Team Downey, the entertainment company founded by Susan Downey and Robert Downey Jr. The eight-part series is from Audacy’s Cadence13 in association with Team Downey and Wink Pictures.

The first two episodes of The Sunshine Place will be broadcast on major podcast platforms on August 10th. New episodes appear every Wednesday through September 21st.

The Sunshine Place tells the story of Synanon—and its messianic founder, Charles E. Dederich—through the reminiscences of members, survivors, and devoted chroniclers. The series is narrated by Sari Crawford, daughter of former Synanon leader Bill Crawford.

“While we were familiar with Synanon, it was not until we heard the deeply personal stories that we were able to truly appreciate its epic rise and fall,” Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey said in a statement. “We felt this was an oddly relevant and twisted cautionary tale that needed to be told about the incredible lengths people will go to to seek answers and the more dangerous answers others will provide.”

Synanon was dubbed “the miracle on the beach” in Santa Monica in the 1960s. Dederich, aka “Chuck,” claimed his program could cure heroin addiction—and he claimed even bolder that Synanon could cure any problem, as long as you joined the movement. What began in a beachfront home in Santa Monica soon spread to San Francisco and Oakland, then properties across the state of California, and then across the country, attracting thousands of followers and millions of dollars in assets. But Dederich ended up destroying everything, along with the lives of many of his followers.

The Sunshine Place is executive produced by Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey and Emily Barclay Ford for Team Downey, along with Josh McLaughlin for Wink Pictures and Cadence13 Chief Content Officer Chris Corcoran.

The story was written, directed and produced by Perry Crowell, Zak Levitt, Ian Mandt and Bill Schultz of Cadence13’s C13Originals studio.

Listen to the trailer for The Sunshine Place: Robert Downey Jr. Exec Produces “Sunshine Place” Podcast Series

Charles Jones

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