Robert Downey Jr. sure is in a good way lately, no? Wind the clocks back, oh, seven years — certainly less than a decade — and you’re talking about an uninsurable has been. Drugs, scandal, fall from grace, the whole thing. Then he married one of Hollywood’s youngest and brightest, Susan Downey (née Levin), in 2005. She helped him get his act together and now he’s the face of two major franchises. It’s storybook, really, and a perfect awards narrative, by the way, should an awards project ever come along for the actor.
It may yet be in the cards. The kind of success Downey has enjoyed over the last few years is fertile ground for branching out creatively and artistically. If you ask him — and GQ did just that — he’s cheekily confident that a golden guy will be on his mantle one of these days.
“I”m probably one of the best [actors of my generation],” he told the magazine. “But it”s not that big a deal. It”s not like this is the greatest swath or generation of actors that has ever come down the pike…
“I, personally, would be shocked if we went to the end of the tape now and I didn”t have at least one [Oscar]…Because I”m young enough, and I”m running down being occupied with these kind of genre movies, close enough. Even the next thing we”re doing with [my wife], I”m so confident about it. It”s the best script the studio has; it”s the best thing I”ve read in years.”
And then the refreshing take:
“You know, honestly, my real answer to that is: I don”t care. I used to think I cared, and I couldn”t care less. Now, I”m not saying I wouldn”t get a little choked up, but it is amazing to see how people are literally hyperventilating when they get up there, because they have such an attachment to this outcome. I mean, it”s not like we”re at the f–king Olympics or something.
“Look, even if I don”t get one directly, eventually they”re just going to have to give me one when I get old. So no matter how you slice it, I”m getting one.”
You can only really smile at that kind of confidence. And Downey can only smile at his big, fat paycheck for “The Avengers,” too, which he confirmed to GQ was upwards of $50 million. In a nutshell, the contract Downey signed back when he agreed to star in 2008’s “Iron Man” allowed him a share of the team-up film’s payday “far bigger than anyone could have anticipated,” the article notes. Rumor was it was around $50 million (which is the kind of money Jack Nicholson brought in when his “Batman” contract smartly included merchandizing proceeds).
So was that indeed the number? Here’s the excerpt:
“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.””
Hollywood is just coming off a comeback story in Ben Affleck and “Argo.” Rest assured, if Downey ever sinks his teeth into a quality project, he’ll be on similar turf. We all know he has the talent. He already has a pair of Oscar nominations, for 1992’s “Chaplin” and 2008’s “Tropic Thunder.” It’s really only a matter of time.
“Iron Man” 3, meanwhile, hits theaters May 3.