Robert Downey Jr.’s Picks For His Two ‘Most Important’ Films From The Last 25 Years May Surprise You


Robert Downey Jr. has been in the film business for a very long time — since he was five, when he acted in his dad’s 1970 comedy Pound. It’s been a sometimes rocky road, but the last 15 years have been especially good to him, thanks in part to hooking up with Marvel. In a new interview with The New York Times, he gets particularly reflective — in at least one case surprisingly so.

During the interview (in a bit teased out by Deadline), Downey — who in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer plays one of our quasi-hero’s foes — named the “two most important films I’ve done in the last 25 years.” Shockingly, neither one was Iron Man, the movie that not only gave him a comeback but made him bigger than he’d ever been. But judging by what he picked, “important” to him is more about what they meant for his career than about quality.

The first is The Shaggy Dog, Disney’s 2006 remake of their 1959 semi-classic, which starred Tim Allen, with Downey second-billed. Why is the Shaggy Dog remake so important to him? Because, he said, “that was the film that got Disney saying they would insure me.” (The actor had a long history of drug and law enforcement issues, which had cost him jobs because he was uninsurable.)

The second is Dolittle, which was, as he put it, “two-and-a-half-year wound of squandered opportunity.” He admits, after bidding adieu to Tony Stark with Avengers: Endgame, he “hastily” went into what he thought could be “another big, fun, well-executed potential franchise.” Even then he wasn’t entirely cocksure about it.

“I had some reservations,” Downey confessed. “Me and my team seemed a little too excited about the deal and not quite excited enough about the merits of the execution. But at that point I was bulletproof. I was the guru of all genre movies.”

Clearly the massive failure of Dolittle earned Downey a life lesson. He describes Oppenheimer — in which he plays Lewis Strauss, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Chair who went after the “father of the atomic bomb” in the mid-‘50s over his past dalliances with communism — as a “demarcation line” over what kinds of movies he’ll do post-Marvel. Unlike with Dolittle, he knew, with Nolan, he was in “capable hands.”

Despite all this, he still should have made one of them Zodiac.

You can see the fruits of Downey’s labors when the super-sexy Oppenheimer opens on July 21 — the same day you may be one of the tens of thousands also seeing Barbie the same day.

(Via NYT and Deadline)