The Three Times Robert Downey Jr. Was ‘Completely Obsessed’ With Playing A Role (Yes, Iron Man Is In There)

When one discusses some of the greatest actors of the past several decades, it would make sense if Robert Downey Jr. were to be added to the conversation. He’s given more than a few standout performances in his time and has been noted for his commitment to his work. His dedication is certainly evident in Downey’s best movies. While he exudes a somewhat easygoing and witty demeanor, even Downey has found instances when he found himself “completely obsessed” with playing a role. The actor recently explained that that’s happened a total of three times in his career. And you may not be surprised to learn that Iron Man is one of them. 

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There have been more than a few instances in which actors have admitted to having actively pursued specific gigs. In many cases, said jobs are part of high-profile productions. That seems to ring true when it comes to the man that some simply know as RDJ. He spoke about his own experiences with obsessing over job opportunities while speaking with W Magazine. The three situations he shared with the news outlet shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as they mark some of the biggest roles of his career: 

There have been three times in my career when I became completely obsessed with the possibility of playing a role. First time was Chaplin. Second time was Tony Stark, in Iron Man.. And the third time—I got the trifecta, and you’re lucky if this happens a couple of times—was with Lewis Strauss, for Oppenheimer.

Each and every one of the roles changed Robert Downey Jr.’s life and career in some form or fashion. 1992’s Chaplin arguably helped launch the then-young actor into a higher professional tier, as he was lauded for his turn as the eponymous actor. Downey even earned his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal. The highly successful Iron Man, in which the star played Tony Stark, served as a bit of a comeback job for the A-lister, who’d dealt with some personal issues a few years prior. Downey earned wide acclaim for his work and would go on to appear in more than a few Marvel movies.

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<span class="credit">(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)</span>

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Of course, more recently, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has become another fine feather in the veteran performer’s cap. Critics and general viewers alike have mostly had nothing but praise for his turn as Lewis Strauss – an antagonist to J. Robert Oppenheimer within the film. All in all, I can totally understand why the Zodiac star would name these three movies as jobs he was particularly eager to get and, based on how they were received, it’s hard to argue with his eventual hirings. 

The impact of that most recent feature is still running its course amid this awards season. As of this writing, Robert Downey Jr. has received several awards wins and various nominations for his work in the high-grossing historical drama. Most notably, he was amongst the list of 2024 Golden Globes nominees. It’s highly speculated that he’ll also be nominated for an Academy Award this year and, while the competition may be stiff, he certainly stands a fair chance of winning Best Supporting Actor, in this fan’s eyes.

As the leading man’s career continues to flourish, he may eagerly attempt to obtain a few other roles. I don’t think he’ll have much problem getting them, should that be the case. He’s more than proven himself as a gifted actor at this point, and his body of work will continue to speak for itself. 

Chaplin is available to stream for free on Pluto TV, while Iron Man is available for Disney+ subscribers. Oppenheimer has yet to reach Peacock subscription holders, but one can expect that to hit the platform sometime this year. Also, keep an eye on the 2024 movie schedule in case a new Robert Downey Jr. movie lands on that list.


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