The man behind Iron Man sheds light on the long road from down-and-out to the Marvel mainstream.
Robert Downey Jr.’s name was once synonymous with drugs, arrests and Hollywood excess. Now though, RDJ is the highest-paid actor in the world and seems to have finally found some balance. The thespian sat down with GQ Stylefor their debut issue to discuss the journey to Tony Stark.
“I don’t want to talk about failure. I want to talk about moments of humility,” Downey said when asked about the last time he felt that he had failed. “Like when you feel suddenly sick and embarrassed but then you have to continue on to the next moment immediately in full view of others. Because it’s not failure if you just recognize, I fell short, and that’s okay.”
But the movie star explained that he’s familiar with failure, and unwilling to waste the second chance he’s been given, in the industry and beyond.
“When you’re on the outside looking in, for years, for decades, only a fool misplays it [success] once he’s given a winning hand. And aside from certain devastating genetic weaknesses, I am not a fool.”
Like all actors, Downey has reservations about aging and losing those photogenic features. He ruminated on aging while remembering acting in the buddy cop film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. “When I watch that movie I say, ‘You were beautiful. And now…you just need to accept the fact that you’re going to age as gracefully as possible.’”
When asked if he had any advice for young, aspiring actors, the 51-year-old had this to say: “You must learn to put your nose to the grindstone for years and not look up, no matter how much rejection is heaped on you.”