Robert Downey Jr.

5 MINUTES READ

Indestructible Actor

Praised for his undeniable qualities as a dramatic actor, Robert Downey Jr, long the victim of his excesses and infamous reputation, could have easily joined the list of failed stars in modern Hollywood. A former drug-addict and felon, at 48-years-old he is now one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, knighted by the mighty Marvel, which in 2008 offered him the part of the superhero Iron Man in the eponymous movie. Reprising his role as Tony Stark in the third instalment of this phenomenally successful franchise, the star reflects on his life, his career and a part that has made him, against all odds, one of the most ‘bankable’ actors in the world

When you accepted the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man five years ago, did you imagine the movies would be so successful?
I would say that there were strong signals. What worked very well with Iron Man, from the outset, is that it has a thread of realism within it. Although it is primarily the story of a group of people who use their scientific knowledge to better humanity, the scientific progress shown on screen is technically feasible. This creates a cross between fantasy and reality that, I think, was the source of its success. Furthermore, Iron Man has taken advantage of many elements that have enhanced the movie. They managed to create this bridge between the ‘classic’ superhero story and intrigues worthy of James Bond or Mission Impossible. The public has quickly grown to love the franchise because of this.
As a kid, were you a ‘hard’ child or a superhero at heart?
Neither, as a child I loved to tap dance! I had only one dream growing up: leave New York as fast as possible. I had nothing to do with the other kids around me. Nothing to do with the thugs that my father mixed with, nor with dealers in my neighbourhood … All these guys who stuffed themselves with films and took themselves for Steve McQueen… It really wasn’t my thing.

After five years of playing Tony Stark, have you noticed a change within yourself?
All that interested me five years ago was being creative enough to give my character a credible superhero air. Now I especially enjoy fencing to refine the seductive side of the spiritual character. I raise a little walk. The more the series has advanced though, the more the secondary characters take on greater magnitude. The plot no longer revolves around Stark alone. Iron Man 3 is more centered on the rapport he has with his assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)… What I also like about the Iron Man team is that we mature together. This is not to say that I feel the weight of time on us, but I appreciate the idea of finding us all at the peak of our careers. We’ve all come to this franchise in our separate ways and we all amuse each other very much. The icing on the cake is that the audience follows us. That is really great.
In Iron Man 3 you reunited with Shane Black, the director of the excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which you worked on together in 2005…
Yes. Jon Favreau (the director of the first and second Iron Man) and I talked a lot at the time. I followed his advice with great interest, especially since he never asked for anything in return… Ah if, one day he asked us to give him salmon and blueberries for his valuable advice, then it might be different! With Shane, we share a common passion for ‘comics’. I was delighted when I learned that he would direct this third film. It still manages to forge exceptional characters and integrate them neatly into the scenarios of an action movie. As a measure of the adventures in Iron Man, I had made a kind of list of everything that I would have wanted to see or do in a movie, but which, due to a lack of time or means, had not been possible. Without giving too much away, in the third film I can assure you that there is not much left on my list!
You either say too much or not enough!
To be honest, it is because it’s necessary that the public expect to be constantly surprised. Several intrigues intermingle. It gives them a reason to stay interested… I sincerely believe that this Iron Man one is the most moving, the most technically perfect, the most entertaining and the closest to the spirit of the comics!
With Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, you’re the proud lead role in two very successful franchises. Has Hollywood finally overcome your rebellious spirit?
Not at all. Nothing has changed in me. The Hollywood system? For me, it is secondary. I’m always the trickster that interferes somewhere and Hollywood uses that as it sees fit. In the past, I made bad movies, but always for a noble cause: my love of cinema. This is the only thing that keeps me going and is the reason that I came here today… Never try to plan anything.
Do you remember your first contract?
It was for publicity. I was panicking, I remember perfectly. The clothes I was wearing, I had borrowed from friends, and I find myself in front of this woman, who tells me what I should do and I panicked, then she tells me that it’s over, I never did anything.
You have long been famous in Hollywood for your various scandals and arrests during your career. What memories do you keep of your time in prison and in the courts in California?
I’ve never sought forgiveness or made an apology. I know it was stupid that whole damn macho side, but would I ever have been who I am otherwise? My mistakes have been made in any event…
Without any regrets?
Regrets would mean what? That I do not deserve everything that happens to me now? No, as I said: I accept everything I’ve done, everything I’ve been through, the good times as well as bad…
In Iron Man 3, you face the immense Ben Kingsley, who plays the charismatic villain Mandarin. In a genre film of this magnitude, does it allow you to fully enjoy the talent of the other actors?
Absolutely. It’s also a great motivation and a matter of instinct. The actors know how to detect the scenes where they can hold their own in a saga such as Iron Man, you’re not there to do tapestry and serve only the franchise. The arrival of Ben Kingsley in the film is a stroke of genius by Marvel. They are very strong in terms of casting and allow audacity, which quickly reveals the masterstrokes. Sir Ben is an accomplished artist, who came up with ideas that were very strong and very useful for his character and we immediately put them to use. But the biggest surprise for me came during his first day of filming: he totally let go and had fun like a five-year-old kid in a sandbox! Without his performance, I think the film would not have this color today… In fact, if you speak to Sir Ben, do not forget Guy Pearce plays an important role in the film. This guy is a national treasure – courteously lent by Australia, it goes without saying.
What is the quality necessary for any good actor?
DNA. Everything is a question of DNA. In this business, you wear it in your guts and everywhere else. It is not in the eyes, heart or mind. Everything is the DNA.
Was courage called for in Iron Man 3?
Yes. There comes a point where you’re all together on location, a great team around you, six main actors on the set… Wow! It is easier today than in the first Iron Man actually. We were very stressed at the time. Stressed, but also hopeful, excited by what we still had to prove… I have more confidence in myself now.
You’re at the peak of a nearly thirty-five-year career. A review?
I was just this kid from New York who came to try his luck in Los Angeles. I did a lot of sh*t in my life, I made a lot of mistakes too, but not for one second have I been bored. And I’ve never lied to myself.
Why is it that you always seem to have the same enthusiasm for this job?
I still continue to work with the same enthusiasm because I’m having fun. We must never forget that, otherwise you become type cast and squeezed, crushed by your schedule. I love to play Tony Stark and I think that, to be happy, one is never better served than by oneself.
Are you planning to one-day leave Hollywood?
Impossible. I love Los Angeles. I’ve been here so many years… And honestly, where the f*ck would I go?

 

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Art

Ballad of Elton John: Rocket Man and Flamboyant Star

Rocketman is a fantasy musical told from the perspective of a burned-out Elton John reflecting on his wild life from a rehab facility in the …

Da Vinci Art

The Magnificent Leonardo

The Renaissance Genius of the Future Five hundred years after the death of this painter, sculptor, architect, inventor and engineer, his works continue to fascinate …

Andrea Bocelli Interviews

Andrea Bocelli

If God could sing, he would sound a lot like Bocelli Andrea Bocelli is a world famous pop star, a refined and versatile opera singer …

Julian Lloyd Weber Interviews

Julian Lloyd Weber

The most celebrated cellist of his generation Julian Lloyd Webber, made his professional debut at London’s Queen Elizabethm hall in 1972 and has collaborated with …

Yayoi Kusama Art

Remarkable Yayoi Kusama

A luminary in the cultural sphere One of the most, critically acclaimed artists of our time looks upon the world in a unique way and, …

Marko Tadic Interviews

Marko Tadić

Events Meant to be Forgotten Marko Tadić is one of the most prominent artists of the younger generation whose works have been exhibited in galleries …

This is photo of a new Grand Banks 85 Yachting

Remarkable Attitude of Grand Banks 85

An ocean-cruising 85-footer with a half-load displacement of 49,000 kilos, which is remarkable in the marketplace The company that pioneered the trawler-yacht niche more than …

This is a photography of Swan 108 Yachting

Swan 108: Evolution Is Better Than Revolution

Positioned between the Swan 98 and Swan 120, the Swan 108 is based on the evolution of the previous Maxi Swan, particularly in regard to …

This is photo of a Yanmar tested boat Yachting

Yanmar Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell System

Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd. and its subsidiary Yanmar Power Technology Co., Ltd. have conducted a field demonstration test for the maritime fuel cell system. The …

This is photo of a Benetti launches MY Hawa Yachting

Benetti Launched Custom Yacht MY Hawa

Benetti launched from Livorno MY Hawa, a 48-meter full custom yacht designed in collaboration with the famous English studio RWD, who penned the exterior and …

This is a photopgraphy of 80 Sunreef Power Great White Tests

80 Sunreef Power review: Approved by Rafa Nadal

Power multi-hull 80 Sunreef Power gives motoryachts of the same size a run for their money. This model might just be the one to propel …

This is photo of a Tomislav Hrala, direktor prodaje i marketinga Portonovi Interviews

Tomislav Hrala: One&Only is new standard of luxury

The first One & Only resort in Europe is located in Herceg Novi, in the Bay of Kotor, which is considered one of the most …

Scroll to Top