Robert Downey Jr. served as Iron Man for over a decade, often appearing in multiple movies a year. But that’s all over now, following Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame. Fans are crushed by the hero’s loss, too, as Downey’s portrayal has been so enormously successful over the past decade. He’s simply become the character and now we can’t imagine anyone else in the role.
That said, the reverse is also true: the character has become him. Fans are always talking about the blurry line between where Stark ends and Downey begins but, while there are definitely similarities there, the star has now opened up about how he isn’t Tony Stark and is trying to distance himself from his Marvel role now that he’s done with it.
While speaking with Sam Jones for THR, Downey stated:
“Initially, by creating and associating and synergizing with Tony Stark and the Marvel Universe … and being a good company man, but also being a little off-kilter, being creative and getting into all these other partnerships, it was a time when … what do they say? Owners start looking like their pets.”
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To ensure he didn’t become fully lost in the part, Downey drew on his theatrical training and recalled the importance of keeping “aesthetic distance” from the characters you play.
“I am not my work. I am not what I did with that studio. I am not that period of time that I spent playing this character. And it sucks, because the kid in all of us wants to be like, ‘No. It’s always going to be summer camp and we’re all holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya’.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Downey also admitted to developing a “dependency” on his tenure with Marvel Studios, going on to comment that he knows he’s at a crossroads in his life now and will have to navigate it carefully.
“I have not been forced to explore the new frontier of what is my creative and personal life after this It’s always good to get ahead of where you are about to be. If you put eyes on ‘that’s going to be a big turn down there, spring of ’19,’ I better start psychically getting on top of that. … It’s always in the transitions between one phase and the next phase that people fall apart.”
We’ve yet to see exactly what turn the actor’s career will take next, but Robert Downey Jr. does already have a couple of projects lined up. There’s Sherlock Holmes 3, which just found its new director, and his upcoming Doctor Doolittle reboot. It still might be quite a while, though, before folks stop thinking of him as Iron Man.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter