You've heard it all before. Franchise actors who claim they want to move on and tackle more artistic endeavors, or who insist they will only come back if the script is right and can do justice to the film(s) that came before. But few of those people are Robert Downey Jr., and even fewer earned the $50 million he pocketed from the mega-success of "The Avengers," thanks to his back-end deal for starring in the movie. So, will RDJ really walk away from that kind of money, despite professing a desire to move on from playing Tony Stark? If his interview in GQ is anything to go by, the answer is yes.
As you might remember, the actor injured himself on the set of "Iron Man 3" last summer, causing a temporary delay in filming with production being shut down while he recovered. And it has perhaps made him realize that he won't be able to fight super villains forever. "It got me thinking about how big the message from your cosmic sponsor needs to be before you pick it up. How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun?" he said. "Because, as quiet as it's kept, I come from a family of very innovative writers and directors and actors and artists, and the circle of friends they were in were the people I heard having pun-offs playing poker at two in the morning, and it was just the most comforting aspect of my childhood. So there's this kind of legacy of souls from what I consider to be a very particular time in entertainment, and I'm sensing a return to that—it's what me and the missus are doing next."
And perhaps most intriguing of all at this point is that the actor is a free agent, revealing he no longer owes any movies to Marvel (except probably "The Avengers 2"), which has him contemplating what he'll do when the inevitable possibility of "Iron Man 4" comes rolling around.
"Right now I don't have a contract to do anything, and I did for the last five years," he says, adding, "Here's the thing. At whatever point I'm done with this, I'm going to have a bit of a crisis, because I probably haven't even fully ingested how much I've enjoyed it, how much it's meant. It so came out of kind of relative obscurity as this second-tier character from the Marvel universe, and I feel I was part of making it something more."
So what does Robert Downey Jr. have on his list of things he'd like to do next? Well, he shared more than a few options with GQ, and we'll break 'em down here.
Will RDJ Get An Oscar Nomination For "The Judge"?
One of those next projects is the dramedy "The Judge," produced by his wife, starring Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, in a tale of lawyer who comes back to his hometown when his father, a judge, is suspected of murder. "It's funny as hell, but speaking of emo, it's just openly weeping reading the script. I don't know how I'm going to get through it," he said of the movie he'll shoot this summer.
But even more, he's comes just short of predicting he'll get awards recognition for the film. "Well, I know it's going to happen," he plainly says when asked if he's ever going to win an Oscar. "I, personally, would be shocked if we went to the end of the tape now and I didn't have at least one....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 the missus, I'm so confident about it. It's the best script the studio has; it's the best thing I've read in years."
But ultimately? "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 fucking Olympics or something."
RDJ Wants To Direct A Movie Centered On Halloween
One of the many things RDJ would like to tackle creatively ("You know, I really miss composing music, writing music") is finally getting behind the camera, and he has something he's toying with. "And I want to direct—I think I'd do a pretty good job." he says, adding "Nobody has cornered Halloween as a market since 'Halloween.' " So is it a horror movie? We'll have to see, but the actor does tease: "I will say only this: I am a Village Voice reporter on the run."
"Pinocchio" Is Still A Possibility
Warner Bros. has long been developing a live-action "Pinocchio" movie, and last year word burbled up that Tim Burton was eyeing the project with Robert Downey Jr. to play Geppetto. Well, it's something RDJ is still pretty fired up about it. "I got real excited about it. I was just thinking about Geppetto as a cross between Jake LaMotta and Chico Marx. It's such a vital story, but it's really about this working-class weirdo who invests this inanimate object with all of the qualities he doesn't have," he enthused. "I'm just crazy about the idea.... To me a wooden boy is a real boy who doesn't feel like he's acknowledged."
Robert Downey Jr. Was Too Old For "Inherent Vice"?
Folks were a bit surprised when it was announced earlier in the year that Joaquin Phoenix was subbing in for Robert Downey Jr. in Paul Thomas Anderson's brewing "Inherent Vice." But it turns out the filmmaker and the actor are still pals, even though he won't be in the movie. "I think he told me I'm too old," Downey told the magazine. "Which I love when people tell me."
And he speaks fondly of the filmmaker and their relationship, even joking with Anderson about the elusive "The Master." "He goes, 'How does it feel to be the shortest superstar in the world?' And I say, 'It's amazing. And who tagged on that other act in the movie after Joaquin drove off on the motorcycle? Because the movie ended there, right?' He just laughs," he said. "We live to rib each other, because he is as far on one side of the scale as I am to the other, presently, in people's perception, and yet we could finish each other's sentences all day."
Where do you want to see RDJ go next once he retires Tony Stark? "Iron Man 3" arrives on May 3rd.