June 19, 1998 12:00 AM

Robert Downey Jr., who was set to play Hamlet in a production of the Shakespeare drama to be directed by Mel Gibson on a Los Angeles stage in January, will still get to don his Elizabethan codpiece and tights, Gibson tells USA Today. “I only want to do it with him,” says Mighty Mel. “Hey, if he’s ready, I’m ready.” On Dec. 27, Downey faces arraignment on felony drug charges stemming from his Nov. 25 arrest in a Palm Springs hotel room. This week, Downey, 35, is reportedly still at work on “Ally McBeal,” though it looks like he lost his role in the film “America’s Sweethearts,” which stars Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones and is scheduled to begin shooting after Downey’s court date. Added Gibson: “I talked to him like a week ago. He’s gonna be okay. He’s got a good heart. Everybody falls. He just drew the wrong number.”

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