Every time I see Robert Downey Jr. in an interview or on an awards show, he seems so confident and so utterly comfortable with himself that he’s like a human cocaine high. In Iron Man, I’m not sure if he’s playing Tony Stark as the smartest, richest, cleverest billionaire in the world or if he’s just playing himself. While he may not have a flying rocket suit or a robot house voiced by Jude Law in real life, one thing he does have is giant shitpiles of f*ck-you money. He reportedly made $50 million on The Avengers alone, a figure that was first reported last year by the Hollywood Reporter, but GQ recently asked Downey directly. Usually when actors are asked about such financial matters, they’re all “Well sort of, but you know I had to pay my agent and my manager and my ex wife and my child support and what with the price of gas these days, ’twas hardly but a pittance.”
Yadda yadda yadda, Robert Downey Jr. isn’t “most actors”:
The Hollywood Reporter recently suggested that the true figure was around $50 million. It’s not the kind of thing most actors are prepared to talk about, but I ask Downey anyway.
“Yeah,” he says, smiling.
Is that number about right?
“Yeah.” A broader smile.
“Isn’t that crazy?” he says. “They’re so pissed. I can’t believe it. I’m what’s known as ‘a strategic cost.’ “
Usually we knock people for being arrogant or loving themselves too much, but in Robert Downey’s case, it’s one his best traits. In the right hands, cockyness can seem less a sin than a simple acknowledgement of objective truth, a refreshing renunciation of false modesty. And by “right hands” I mean of course rocket hands.
[full interview at GQ]