Between all of the unanswered questions, the premiere reactions on social media, and the constant struggle to avoid spoilers, Avengers: Infinity War has taken a heavy toll on Marvel fandom. As Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr. noted at Monday night’s event, however, the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe’s success isn’t just the fact that it managed to coherently produce 19 (!) movies in an interconnected universe. It also saved him and his career from obscurity, something older Marvel fans and novices familiar with the actor’s history will no doubt recall.
According to Entertainment Weekly, when Downey and the rest of the Infinity War cast addressed the crowd just before the screening, the 53-year-old actor said, “This is a miracle, and if any one of us took credit it would be heresy. It would be blasphemy.” Not one to miss an opportunity, he then jokingly told the audience “you’re welcome” before launching into a more serious reflection of the past decade:
“I want to talk about the past, present, and future,” Downey said. “The past for me was 30 years of dependency, depravity, and despair… otherwise known as ‘An Actor Prepares!'”
After another round of cheers, he went on: “The present is this moment of glory for all of us. And the future…? That is always uncertain. But looking at these friends behind me,” he said, looking back at the faces of his fellow actors, “it seems like things might brighten up after all.”
Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Downey was arrested and jailed multiple times for numerous drug-related charges and violations. At one particularly memorable court hearing, an orange jumpsuit-wearing Downey told the judge of his addictions, “It’s like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.” After a stint in rehab, he mounted a comeback with smaller films like Gothika and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and blockbusters like Marvel’s Iron Man and the Ben Stiller comedy Tropic Thunder.
Before the Infinity War premiere, Downey appeared on Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live with co-stars Zoe Saldana, Paul Bettany, Pom Klementieff, and Tom Holland to discuss the film. At one point during their conversation, the talk host joked, “What was it, 10 years ago that you did the first Iron Man movie? We didn’t know how that was going to go. That could have been a disaster. It could have ruined your acting career!” Laughing, Downey responded, “The only way was up back then!”
(Via Entertainment Weekly)