Woods is the same civil rights attorney as William Kuntsler, who is keeping power by negotiating plea agreements for moneyed drug dealers. In theory, it’s principled work (these men are simply providing a need in a deeply corrupt system that targets people of darker skin color), but there are injustices. larger than he might have to deal with. It’s just that those customers aren’t paying either, if they can.
Robert Downey Jr. plays an idealistic employee scrambling to convince Woods to accept the apparently crooked accusations of a young Korean man. He’s both the last thing Woods’ character wants to deal with, and the exact influence he needs to rekindle the flames of his cause. “True Believer” is a B-movie, but the conflict between Woods and Downey, two of the most difficult chargers to step in front of the camera, causes a lot of tension. And it led to Woods rushing in and stealing the crap out of Downey.
https://www.slashfilm.com/997957/a-slap-from-james-woods-during-true-believer-taught-robert-downey-jr-a-lifelong-lesson/ A slap from James Woods while a true believer taught Robert Downey Jr. a lesson for life