Robert Downey Jr. made a really good gamble when he joined Iron Man to kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the time, he signed a multi-picture contract, and also to get a share of whatever The Avengers made. The Hollywood Reporter learned last May that the blockbuster's then-$1.32 billion haul (it went on to gross $1.5 billion) that, "once box-office bonuses and backend compensation are factored in," Downey's take would be about $50 million.
As mind-boggling as that figure may be, the actor has now confirmed it's true.
"Isn't that crazy?" he said in a new interview with GQ. "They're so pissed. I can't believe it. I'm what's known as 'a strategic cost.' "
In terms of The Avengers being such a big hit, Downey said, "I really just showed up, hit my marks. Joss would write some lines or I would come up with a line. It was very easy -- it was so easy I didn't see how it could work."
Fortunately it did work, and now Marvel is kicking off the second phase of its cinematic universe. But. in the GQ interview, Downey makes it clear that his involvement can't go on forever. He doesn't have a multi-picture contract with Marvel any more, and he knows that at a certain point he's not going to be able to reprise the role of Iron Man. Still, he seems like he's doing his best to be grounded about his inevitable departure from the series.
"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," he told the magazine. "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. But it also to me was just good filmmaking. "
He continued, "It's funny, people will come up to me and go, 'Dude, how do you do it? How do you dress up and play these?' While whatsisname is shooting the next David O. Russell or whatever, I'm, 'Here's the thing, you're either having a good time or a bad time, and you're either doing a good movie or a bad movie.' And I know one thing, which is that there is no guarantee that doing a movie you think is 'important' isn't going to be the worst piece of tripe I've ever had to sit through. Or that this kind of two-dimensional genre movie I'm doing isn't actually going to be thoroughly entertaining. Isn't that why you went to the movies to begin with? Whatever."
As for what he's been advising director Shane Black to do in Iron Man 3, Downey said, "Pacing. Story. Payoffs. Setups. Moments. Surprises. All the stuff they're doing. And then, once in a while I'm, 'Please, guys -- show me another take where I don't look like I'm taking a shit and screaming at the same time.' "
Iron Man 3, which is expected to have a huge opening weekend, also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale and Ashley Hamilton. To get a detailed view of what we know about the movie at this point head over here.