Robert Downey Jr. Reiterates His Consideration of Retiring from Iron Man; Thinking about Doing a Movie Involving Halloween

     April 16, 2013


Robert Downey Jr. is about to have another hit on his hands when Iron Man 3 opens in a couple weeks.  Iron Man is the franchise that took him back from the brink to the point where his past failures—the flops, the drug addiction, the prison time—become somewhat forgettable.  He’s now one of the biggest stars in the world, and has the freedom to choose projects.  However, he knows that at age 48, genre movies are becoming a little too much.  He learned that lesson the hard way when he injured his ankle while doing a stunt on Iron Man 3.

In a new profile for GQ, Downey talks about how that’s leading him to possibly put away the armor in the near future.  He also mentions some projects beyond the Marvel Universe.  Hit the jump for more.

iron-man-3-poster-usSpeaking to GQ, Downey says that the injury was a bit of a wakeup call to return to more personal projects:

“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? 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. It’s not unlike: I heard Brady signed on for three more years with New England, and then he’s done being a QB, because he’ll be 40. I’m 47, and I’ll be 50.”

robert-downey-jr[Note Downey turned 48 earlier this month, so the interview was clearly done before his birthday] This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Downey being replaced as Iron Man, and The Avengers 2 seems a good a time as any for a last hurrah.  The GQ article also mentions that he made about $50 million off The Avengers, so Marvel probably wouldn’t mind a younger, more affordable actor.

As for what the future holds, Downey is content to pursue non-genre fare.  This summer, he’ll be working on the drama The Judge with Robert Duvall, which centers on an attorney who returns home for his mother’s funeral where he learns that his estranged father, a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, is suspected of murder.  He also tells GQ that he’d like to direct, and has an idea stirring for a Halloween picture:

“Nobody,” he says, “has cornered Halloween as a market since Halloween.” He would act in it, too. “I will say only this: I am a Village Voice reporter on the run.”

It’s a project that sounds like it’s in the nascent stages, but I’ll be curious to see if Downey continues to develop it, or if he’ll be drawn to other work in the coming years.

  • Jeff

    Three Iron Man movies, two Avengers is plenty for Tony Stark. Marvel has lots of other characters to move on to. I think a trilogy is enough for any character.

    • Chris

      I totally agree. There’s so many fresh characters they have in the pipeline and new stories to tell. I don’t think they should really wear out franchises by dipping into them beyond trilogies and crossovers. I think the whole beauty of this shared universe is that they don’t have to rely on one character’s series to milk for profit.

    • SoTrue

      In fact I got enough Tony Stark from the first movie, which at least had enough tact to humanize him part of the time. After that it was as if they wrote Tony Stark as a caricature of himself. Tony Stark ramped up to 11 at all times. It gets old fast and Robert Downey could be putting his talent to better use elsewhere at this point. Although I must admit that I’m still looking forward to IM3.

  • Can.I.Have.A.Slice?

    No recast, please. A respectable send-off would be cool, but don’t think for a second anyone would accept some other dude to don the goatee and armor.

    • Doug

      See, I don’t understand this argument when it comes to comic book characters. Indiana Jones? Okay, that should probably always be Harrison Ford, as he originated the character with Lucas and Spielberg, but Iron Man was around for nearly 50 years before RDJ came along. Don’t get me wrong, he’s fantastic in the role and I wish he could do it forever, but when it comes to comic book characters, I liken it to a new artist coming on board with a different look for the character. We’ll probably be facing this situation again soon with Wolverine, as Hugh Jackman is sounding a little weary of the preparation for each go around.

    • LOL

      That’s what people said about James Bond, and that turned out okay. RDJ is great as Tony Stark, but he’s not some precious holy grail that can’t be replaced. Michael Keaton was the best Batman, but that didn’t stop Nolan’s films from becoming huge hits, either.

      • dodoriz

        I think you’re forgetting about Adam West. But I must agree, while RDJ did a fantastic job, he can be replaced. Removing Iron Man entirely for the marvel cinematic universe seems very unlikely.

      • Shaun

        Keaton?? No… Bale was the best Batman**, and definitely the best Bruce Wayne, by a mile. Say what you want about the “Bat voice” but it wasn’t nearly as extreme in Batman Begins, and it also makes sense that a guy dressed as a Bat busting heads is going to want to disguise his voice. Especially since Wayne is a celebrity.

        Anyhow, Bale LOOKED the part of Wayne, and was clearly in the right shape to play Batman. He also “got it” on a level Keaton never did. Bale completely pulled off the playboy billionaire with a model on each arm and acting like he didn’t have a clue, but he was always focused on what was happening around him and ready to go into action. Watch some of the more subtle moments in his Bat-movies, as Bruce, and you’ll see what I mean. Keaton just seemed like he was sleepwalking through the part, and that “You wanna get nuts?” moment was simply NOT Bruce Wayne.

        I just don’t understand the appeal of Keaton’s/Burton’s Bat-movies. I liked the 1989 film, at the time, well enough, but even back then I knew it wasn’t really the Batman movie I wanted. The plot was thin, Keaton was never believable as Bruce/Bats, and there was still too much goofiness in that movie. Taking liberties like a Batman who kills, Joker being the killer of Bruce’s parents, and Alfred betraying Bruce’s identity were just wrong.

        It wasn’t until Batman Begins that I finally got the Batman movie I’d waited all my life to see, and The Dark Knight was just as good. The Dark Knight Rises, however, pretty much shit the bed and ended the trilogy on a sad, sorry note. Bale still did a great job with the shitty script he was given in that last one though.

        ** Of course, if you wanted to argue that Kevin Conroy is the best Batman, I’d accept that answer too.

      • Shaun

        Adam West? Seriously?

        Look, the guy’s hilarious and all, and I loved that old show as a kid, but calling him “the best Batman” is just, well, laughable.

        Put it this way: His Batman is a completely different animal from the comics, shows, and films that have come down the pike since West’s Batman had its run. It’s certainly not what Batman was intended to be when the character was created either.

        I actually tried watching that show last weekend when I came across it on MeTV. I find it pretty much unwatchable now, and had to change the channel after about five minutes. The 1966 movie still has its charms though. “Some days you can’t get rid of a bomb!”

      • Norm

        shaun-completely wrong-Bale was just OK as Batman. Keaton was the best-watch them again. Batman Begins was a great movie, but Bale was NOT a great Batman-what does “looks like Batman” even mean? no comic depiction looks like Bale…

      • Shaun

        Norm, an opinion isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s an OPINION. You can have yours too, even if I disagree.

        Also, I said Bale looks more like BRUCE WAYNE than Keaton did. Please re-read what I wrote.

        Look at any Batman comics. Who looks more like Bruce Wayne: wimpy Michael Keaton with his receding hairline or the more handsome, rugged looking Bale who looks far closer to Bruce Wayne’s appearance than Keaton ever did? Bale also got into great shape for the part, and it showed. Who was more believable as carefully cultivating a public image as a playboy billionaire with women hanging on both arms? That’s right — Bale. Hell, we never even SAW Keaton’s Wayne doing that stuff. That public persona is an important part of the character.

        As I said earlier, watch again for the more subtle things Bale’s Wayne does. Like when Rachel gives him the birthday present and gets a call on her cell. He’s acting all vapid an unconcerned to Rachel, but as soon as she talks to the DA’s office you see the subtle shift on Bruce’s face and just how engaged to the situation he really is. Or, how about in TDK when he’s acting a bit tipsy at the Harvey Dent fundraiser? He takes another champagne glass and puts on a good show, but when he slinks out to the balcony he discreetly tosses the booze out without ever taking a drink.

        Those are the sorts of moments that make the character, and Bale played it wonderfully. He “got it” on a level Keaton never did. Of course, I also think that the first two Bale Bat-movies were a lot better written than the two Keaton did, and that probably made a big difference too. As for that third (TDKR) Bale Bat-movie? The less said, the better. HUGE disappointment.

      • Shaun

        “no comic depiction looks like Bale…”

        Oh, but there are comic depictions of Bruce Wayne that look like Keaton? LOL… Whatever, Norm.

        I used to like a lot of Keaton’s comedic films, but Mr. Mom as Batman? It was not good casting.

        As for Bale, I’ll let his excellent Batman/Bruce Wayne performances, not to mention his recent Oscar for The Fighter, speak for itself.

  • oui

    Downey is not leaving Marvel, Its contract talk about negotiating a new deal. You make it sound as if your not sure so you get a better deal. Downey is smart and know the industry well.

  • Ash Talon

    Yeah, no one else can play Tony Stark. Just like only Sean Connery can play James Bond.


    …nevermind. I wouldn’t mind them recasting Tony Stark if RDJ steps down. They’re not going to let the franchise die, if it can continue. The Marvel brand and the Iron Man name can keep the film series going. I would like to see a Tony Stark that’s confident but isn’t so…snarky and neurotic. While I enjoy RDJ in the role, I think the Tony Stark character can continue without him.

  • Chris

    I totally agree. There\’s so many fresh characters they have in the pipeline and new stories to tell. I don\’t think they should really wear out franchises by dipping into them beyond trilogies and crossovers. I think the whole beauty of this shared universe is that they don\’t have to rely on one character\’s series to milk for profit.

  • scurvy

    Kill off Stark in Avengers 2. Phase three deals with the fallout of losing one of their own culminating in Tony Stark being ‘avenged’ in Avengers 3. Then put iron man away for a little while until it’s time to reboot the entire mcu.

    • bjemmi


      • pepper

        Yeah i pretty much agree with this guy. its hard to see anyone but RDJ play the character so it would be okay to kill him off and then have the following movies deal with how they lost a central hero

  • JK

    Wouldn’t be the same without RDJ in the armor, but I understand if he wants to pursue other projects. Just find an actor who channel RDJ’s mojo.

  • Chris

    I can understand him getting tired of the role, and it certainly must eat up a lot of the man’s time, but sheesh, he’s only 48. Sly and Arnold have (somewhat) gotten away with it well into their 60s, and they’re running around in jungles and whatnot. I don’t know the specifics of RDJ’s ankle injury, but there’s gotta be a way for him to play Stark well into his 50s while leaving the more extreme stuff to the stuntmen wearing the suits.

  • Dmula

    I don’t see any stand alone Iron man movies after 3,I think after Avengers 2 they’ll keep him on to make appearances in other characters movies maybe a small role in Avengers 3 would be nice

    • Alex

      Honestly i think this is the most likely scenario, like others have said a trilogy is a lot of screen time for one character and as marvel has shown in the past they can make contract deals for cameo or small purpose roles.

      • Dmula

        Very true I can see him maybe being called for help by another character’s movie or for the 3rd Avengers show up for parts of the movie

    • Chris

      I don’t know anybody with the talent and charisma as RDJ who could play Tony Stark. I seriously doubt if Marvel will recast, those movies will be as smart and entertaining without RDJ. He was involved way more than what actors usually are in those movies. I bet he had a major influence with director approval, editing, choosing the DP and whatnot, which is a good thing.

      That being said, if the ideas run out for those movies I hope he will do something else (hoping for him to work with PTA and other interesting directors in the future) He is a huge acting talent and it would be really interesting if he could get involved with some interesting projects in the future.

  • Brandon Avery

    I would HATE for RDJ to go! He’s fantastic as Tony Stark/Iron Man! I wouldnt want anyone else doing it. RDJ as Ironman for life!

  • Pubes

    Josh Brolin for Tony Stark / Iron Man

  • Ryan

    I want see him develop Yucatan!!!!

  • Jack

    maybe he can get back into Inherent Vice!!!!!!!!!! DO IT RDJ DO INHERENT VICE PLEASE!!!!!!!!! also how come no one has asked him about it in all of his interviews for iron man 3?

    • brad

      PTA told him no or he wanted to much money.

  • will

    No need to recast or kill off Tony Stark, just shift him to the side, maybe have RDJ pop up in a cameo every once in a while. If you need some Iron Man type action, bring in Cheadle’s War Machine.

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