Robert Downey Jr. Likely Returning for ‘Avengers 2′; Likes Being ‘Company Man’

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Robert Downey Jr. Avengers 2 Iron Man Tony Stark Robert Downey Jr. Likely Returning for Avengers 2; Likes Being Company Man

Iron Man 3 ends Robert Downey Jr.’s four-film contract to play Tony Stark, and with the actor’s tough-talking agents and lawyers facing off against Marvel – a studio that readily subbed Mark Ruffalo for Edward Norton (and on a lesser note in his own franchise, Don Cheadle for Terrence Howard) – no one’s been sure if the two parties could agree on a number that would get Downey Jr. back in the metal suit for Avengers 2. Marvel’s President of Production Kevin Feige added to the uncertainty when he told Badass Digest that if the deal-making soured, the worst case scenario for the Iron Man character is that “we James Bond it.”

In the midst of the uncertainty, Robert Downey Jr. was still showing up on set to shoot Iron Man 3. When the 47-year-old actor hurt his ankle in August, causing production to be halted for several weeks, it fueled speculation that the two-time Oscar nominee might decide against committing to several more years on an action franchise. At an early press day for Iron Man 3, Downey Jr. spoke openly with Screen Rant about his still-pending deal with Marvel and the possibility of his replacement—“I’m sure they’ve thought about it,” he said—but confirmed that he’d love to keep playing Tony Stark, and that the negotiations were going well. Said Downey Jr., “I like being a company man.”

iron man 3 trailer091 570x242 Robert Downey Jr. Likely Returning for Avengers 2; Likes Being Company Man

“I feel like I got sold to Disney for $4 billion dollars,” he joked. “It’s been very humbling because I always realize that you’re just kind of part of this thing, you know? And I think the problems begin when any one person involved in particularly anything that’s successful decides that they have some sort of ownership to it, because really, this is something that Stan Lee scratched down going on, what, 50 years ago now.”

As for the tone of the talks, Downey Jr. was remarkably candid about why he was initially reluctant to return to the franchise before thinking hard about what the hit character had meant to his career.

“I was annoyed for a while about, you know, you have a contract where in success, very little changes for you and then they make all this dough. But then I think about it and it’s like, ‘What was I really doing before I got Iron Man?’ Then I go, ‘Don’t lead with that, Robert! That’s not where we are! You’re a big prime mover!’ And I go, ‘Yeah, yeah, I get that. I could talk about that for two hours. But let’s look at what really happened here.’

So I’m a big believer in: I don’t like leverage, I don’t like negotiating. I like being really straight and saying, ‘Okay, let’s really look at this.’ I’m not going to pretend I’m over it and whatever. I mean, obviously it’s better to have a contract run out then it is to have one go on indefinitely—I guess that’s why contracts have limits on them. Let me just say me and the agents and the lawyers are having a bit of a ball right now. ‘You pinch me! No, you pinch me!’”

The Avengers 360 Shot Post Conversion 3D Robert Downey Jr. Likely Returning for Avengers 2; Likes Being Company Man

Though Downey Jr.’s reportedly $50 million paycheck for The Avengers (which includes back-ends and bonuses) will wind up being roughly 20 times higher than Marvel’s reportedly $2-$3 million deals with Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo, he stressed that he’s not that nasty of a negotiator.

“I don’t like this whole, and I think it’s a particularly Western thing—well, not any more because we’re kind of being out-paced by the East, business-wise—but that thing of, ‘We got ‘em—now let’s screw ‘em to the floor!’ It’s like, is that what gets you off? Making people feel bad? ‘Ugh, they really put the screws to us, brother?’ Weren’t we excited about the future a couple years ago and now we’re just laying the boots to each other? It’s just so disgusting. I’m an artist!”

Besides money, Downey Jr. pointed to his personal reasons for continuing to play Tony Stark.

“There’s, to me, that kind of wish list or grab bag of things. ‘We haven’t been able to get this in the movie yet—maybe this time we’ll get to—!’ or whatever. I put so much onus on Iron Man 3. Iron Man 3 was supposed to answer all the questions for the audience, cure all of my uncomfortable moments in the past with playing this character, and get in every idea that fell by the wayside in the last three movies. And then we shot the movie and I still feel there’s a couple other things we’ve gotta do.”

Happy to hear that RDJ wants to keep playing Tony Stark?

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Iron Man 3 will be in theaters on May 3, 2013.

Follow Amy Nicholson on Twitter: @TheAmyNicholson

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  1. Yes I am. If you keep playing Tony, you never know how much i thank you RDJ!

  2. Great stuff! I hope he comes back. I could see a 9 picture deal with Disney backing up the stuff and then have him replace Fury and have smaller roles in more movies.

  3. this is AMAZING news. Glad he’s gonna stick around for A2, A3, and IM4 & IM5

    • Er, I think you need to read through the article again.

    • nick is robert D.J really gonna be around for that long ??? for Avengers 2 3 and iron man 4and 5

  4. He’s not an a-hole. That’s what I learned about RDJ in this article.

    Surprised the hell out of me!

    • +1

      I remember watching a movie with RDJ on commentary and he really gave off this cocky “I’m better than everyone” attitude. Glad thats not true!

      • I dunno, since his big comeback in the year or two before Iron Man, he seemed like such a humble guy, talking about how he screwed up his career and his life in the 90s and now he’s getting another chance and he hopes he can make it up to everyone he hurt.

        Fast forward 6-7 years and he’s a massive poster child for second chance success and deservedly so.

        Maybe he had a bad attitude and was self-serving and egotistical in the 90s but since his jail time and drug rehab stuff, he’s seemed like an awesome guy.

    • I get why you might think he was an a-hole previously, based on surface level assessment, but every interview I’ve seen with him over the years he’s disproven that. Have you not encountered other interviews of his, or did you come across interviews that had previously led you to think he was a jerk?

  5. I really wish he keeps playing Tony Stark, at least in one more stand-alone film

  6. I would love to see him continue to play Stark and Iron Man in future films. Maybe just in the Avengers movies though. Lets leave Iron man as a trilogy.

    • Couldn’t agree more…

  7. hope he keeps making more and more iron man movies and more avengers!! and man rdj is pretty dam rich 50mil damn

  8. Regardless if he’s making $50 million or $2 million I like that Downey appreciates and acknowledges what Iron Man has done for his career.
    Some of the younger fans don’t remember how bad things had gotten for Downey in the late 90′s early 2000′s. Every tabloid was full of his misadventures and that led to actual prison time. It got to the point that most people figured the next headline would be about his death or he would just fade away like so many others.
    So, IMO that’s a big reason why fans have accepted him again. We all love comeback stories and his is one of the all time greats.

  9. Anybody remember Keanu Reeves and how he gave a whole bunch of the money from his bloated contract to the Visual FX department of the Matrix? Because he knew that’s where the movie’s value came from?
    I love RDJ’s work but let’s be real, here, folks… nobody deserves that kind of money for work that the majority of the true believin’ Marvel comics fans would do for free. And actually, many kind of do because VFX departments are constantly going bankrupt even though they put in more man hours than RDJ ever has had to for all of his work combined and without them, it’s actors swinging fake hammers and shields at the air.
    As good as these movies have been, imagine how much better they’d be if the wealth was distributed more evenly to those who actually did the heavy lifting.

    • I agree completely joe, im not a keenu fan but i remember hearing that and being very happy. RDJ is ironman and he is gonna get the paycheck he wants and he is very full of himself. He would never do what keenu did even tho he is nothing without the VFX department that creates his moves. But lets be honest not many would lol

      • As long as people (like me) pay to see, they’ll pay him to play. I have no illusions about it. Sure leaves a bad taste in my mouth, though. It’s just too much to ask for our heroes to act like them in real life.

        • Depends though.

          What if he gives money away and keeps it quiet to avoid attention? We’ll never know in that case.

    • dont whine because he got what was worked out in his contract! you could have went to acting school and made the same kind of money!! YOU ARE WORTH WHAT PPL PAY YOU! that is the american way, are you telling us that if your boss wanted to give you a $50,000 a yr raise you would DECLINE beause other ppl work harder/more hours?? GIVE IT UP, NO ONE ON EARTH WOULD DO THAT!

      • Except Keanu did. And they’re called super-heroes because they do things normal people don’t. Also, the U.S. economy tanked not too long ago because Wall Street was doing exactly what you’re suggesting is “not wrong” – handing out money to fat cats who don’t deserve a single penny of it. I’m well aware that the rules are to look out for yourself and get paid. I’m not saying it’s unfair. Just sad.

        • if Marvel did not want to pay that much they should not have signed the same deal that he did which stated that if the Avengers made a BILLION he gets a $50 million dollar bonus! DO YOU THINK HE GETS THAT MUCH FOR EVERY MOVIE? because if you do your stupid! Im sure the deal he signed only paid him the same modest salary as the other actors, BUT RDJ knew that if these movies worked it would be PARTLY BECAUSE OF HIS CHARCTER that started the MCU, and he was smart to put in that nice clause in his contract that would get him paid the way he did…. PERSONALLY I BELIEVE HE DESERVED EVERY PENNY OF THAT $50 mil. because if not For the Iron man character THERE WOULD NOT BE A MCU! and RDJ knew that!! so good for him. OH AND JOE STOP SOUNDING SO JELOUS it does not do you any good jst makes you sound like a whiny jelous brat!!!

          • I know I shouldn’t (particularly with somebody who’s probably a child and somebody who thinks they can actually yell through typing) but I will.
            I know I probably came across as vilifying RDJ but I wasn’t. True, I think he’s full of himself, and I think he’s overrated (only because fan boys can be inordinately loyal) but I’ve said time and again that I thought he was a great actor. That’s not a contradiction; he’s good – he’s not $100 million good. Is it so inconceivable that a no-name or at least a cheaper actor would be able to carry the mantle of Iron Man? Thor did fine with Hemsworth. The heavy burden of Captain America was carried by Evans. Also, because of how old RDJ is (pushing 60. NOT 50. SIXTY.), how much longer will he be a convincing Tony Stark?
            I think he played his cards exactly right to get paid as much as he did. He put Disney/Marvel over the barrel and Disney had no problem shelling out that kind of cash. My problem with it is that people like you, Slappy, feel the need to get down on your hands and knees defending the guy when A) like you said, he doesn’t need your help because the man is clearly a god among fanatics such as yourself, B) he doesn’t give a single bit about the fans and C) other people who deserve the credit suffer, financially as well as just attention.
            Put a rest to it, kid. Or go ahead and reply with another exclamation point and caps-lock ridden post.

            • Downey’s 47 years old. Where on earth did you get that he’s pushing 60? When you get your facts wrong, it’s hard to take your comments seriously.

              • yeah my bad. however, my brain was taking me a few movies in. by the time he starts filming avengers 2 he’ll be 50 or close. he will certainly be pushing 60 if he signs on for more than a few pictures and as long as other solo hero movies get introduced. best outlook is a 55 years old avenger 3 iron man meaning a stately tony stark.

    • That’s ridiculous, @Joe. Robert Downey Jr. IS Iron Man – it’s the greatest marriage of iconic actor and iconic character in the history of movies. I understand that VFX people would like their due, and most of us who love and attend these VFX-laden movies say hats off to the artists behind the scenes who bring them to spectacular onscreen life. But – speaking as an avid movie-goer, I do NOT at all go to Iron Man movies or Avengers to see the pretty effects. To me, the scenes of iron men flying through the air or iron men bashing each other or flying ships and all that other gobbledegook are the basis — we expect that of superhero movies now. And there are a lot of spectacular, effects-laden superhero movies that I DON’T go to, because the story is weak or I don’t care for the actors. I’ve never attended a “Transformers” or a “G.I. Joe” movie, because meh, I don’t care. I don’t CARE how many millions they poured into VFX to make those look good — it’s not what pulls me in. I do, however, LOVE the Iron Man movies BECAUSE of Robert Downey Jr. and the way he brings the character of Tony Stark to such amazing, believable life – his bravado, his vulnerability, his intelligence and the way he always thinks of himself as a failure, never realizing he’s really a hero. I love The Avengers because of ALL the actors – and the clever, witty and rather astonishingly great script — I came to it to see Robert as Iron Man, but I stayed (and saw it several more times in the theaters) because I fell in love with ALL of them, from Mark Ruffalo’s shy and wary Bruce Banner to Chris Evan’s sad, brave Captain America to Clark Gregg’s “his name is Agent” Phil. The point is, it’s really NOT the VFX that bring you the audiences — they’re a part of the team, but they’re NOT the main draw. Because if you don’t have the human side of it — great ACTORS that bring their characters to life and that audiences want to see, and a great SCRIPT that serves them well and tells a compelling and involving story, then all you have are special effects. And that, alas, is not all that special any more.

      • I have to reemphasize that I loved RDJ’s work. All I’m saying is that he get’s paid twenty times more than the next actor down the payroll and it’s kind of sad because Chris Evans did an equally nuanced job as RDJ as did Chris Hemsworth as did Mark Ruffalo. Also, who was Hemsworth before Thor? It goes to show that all the money for an A-List actor flies in the face of smart money. This is coming from me, a Moneyball-loving Mets fan who hates the way the Yankees go about their business – spend more, get more. How about mining talent as they did successfully with Thor, save money there and keep VFX studios and artists, the engine that keeps cinema and innovation churning, in business and thriving – not undercutting each other for the lowest bidder and forcing artists to migrate to tax haven countries like Canada and New Zealand? I promise you if RDJ wasn’t convinced that he was going to look BAD ASS as Iron Man, he never would have agreed to do it. His ego would never have allowed it. Yes, his performance as Tony Stark is vital, but most of the stunt work of the man in the suit is done by somebody else. He just voices the character. My argument is to find talent and value where most others neglect to look and you’ll have resources remaining to not only make a better picture for less money but also have to ability to take care of the people who are holding up your movie on their backs through blood, sweat and tears. The only blood, sweat and tears RDJ has shed was done by a VFX makeup crew. If you love these stories that ABSOLUTELY require top notch VFX, you should hope for a more sustainable economy of credit and cash.

  10. I hope he keeps playing iron man/tony stark. i will be really mad if they recast him. though after IM3 they should just have iron man in the avengers films to give more room to other characters. and maybe have him start having small roles/cameos in other films in phase 3/4 like sam jackson.

  11. He could be part of a very cool team up in Avengers to when you add Dr Strange there (Probably Nicolas Cage)

    • Not the bees!!

      • Beads?!

        • Love the reference Zura, sorta love even more that it went over Ken’s head…

    • Nic Cage as Dr. Strange? No thanks. Strange is one of my favorite characters… no turd-based actors please.

  12. One of the coolest cats around. :)

  13. No Cage in any avenger film. It’ll be bad for everybody. -points up-

    • Not bad for Cage

    • I have to agree, especially since the guy was already Ghost Rider. Plus, it would probably end up seeming too much like Balthazar from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

  14. Nicolas Cage already did some kind of Dr Strange on the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

    • And it sucked.


    This is the greatest news since I heard they were making more Star Wars movies.

    RDJ is Iron Man/Tony Stark. He should keep playing the role, in whatever capacity until this whole CBM phase in Hollywood is over. I would love more standalone IM movies, plus I want him in cameos in all the other movies as well like Fury. There is something about his charisma as this character that just lights up the screen, makes you like him, makes you want more of him.

    He has done an excellent job in these movies and in this role. This article and his quote prove he’s not your typical Hollywood a-hole actor, but rather he remembers where he came from. Good for him, and great for everybody else. Now, Disneyneeds to lock this guy down to a multi-picture deal. Come on Disney, just do it!!!

  16. Good to hear the odds are better I want him back

  17. To piggy back on DasBat – If every major hero got their own trilogy & then did group films afterward that would make one hellof’a good box set someday. (IronMan 1-3, Thor 1-3, Capt America 1-3, Antman 1-3, Black Panther 1-3, Avengers 1-9!)

    • No offense to the heros I left out – I just didn’t want to take up too much typing space.


      • Yet you put in a character whose first movie doesn’t even exist yet?

  18. ONLY Robert Downey Jr. can play Tony Stark. He IS that iconic character – I can’t think of ANY other actor who could play him. As much as we love Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, you might possibly be able to get away with re-casting that character (I’ve actually always thought RDJ would make a great modern-day Indiana Jones, should he want yet another popcorn franchise!). You can always re-cast James Bond, as much as we love Daniel Craig and as much as we loved Sean Connery.

    But recasting Tony Stark? No one else would work, ever. End of story. Marvel might as well throw in the towel on Iron Man if it ever came to that.

    • Not even Charlie Sheen?

  19. Are they really going to make an Iron Man 4 and 5? Isn’t Avengers 2 and Iron Man 3 enough? I mean really now Marvel let’s be honest here.

  20. RDJ is awesome. I hope he keeps playing Tony Stark for as long as possible.

  21. i want rdj to play stark as long as he wants to do it, but lets face it, when he gets tired of it but is forced to do it, the films will suffer.
    @ cliffhanger, i can see your point, but i’m sure there were just as many similar thoughts the 1st time it was announced roger moore was playing bond. we did get the just out of retirement connery in never say never again. i think all the characters can be played by different actors. it’s not what we want to happen, but i understand that it could. people say no one else can be iron-man, but they said the same thing about heath ledger as the joker, and that seemed to have worked out well (except for the accidental OD) no one comes to mind as to who could replace RDJ, but we dont have to worry about that until it happens. until then, i will keep seeing these films and may 3 cant get here soon enough!

  22. Thank you Jesus

  23. I think this group of Avengers will remain until phase 3 ends. Then it’s re-casting time.

    Hemsworth will likely do Avengers 2 and Thor 3, they’ll need to sign him for A3, same as Evans with A2 and cap 3. Ruffalo will be in A2. Scarlett also. Yeah this team seems likely to last til at least until Avengers 3.

    RDJ can play Stark for as long as he wants, he’s great but I wouldn’t be bothered by a new tony, the “tony stark” I grew up with in the comics wasn’t that funny. He’s was dry in his wit but more often morose, serious, tortured… and drunk, often. It would be nice to see that take at some point, maybe Iron Man 3 will go that route.

  24. Robert Downey ISSSSS IronMan.

  25. I can’t wait for this to come out, I am loving the Marvel films and each one is a joy to watch. It is nice to watch good enteraining tv

  26. There is no IRON MAN without Robert Downey Jr.

  27. the suit and you are one tony, love you being tony. be back pls :)

  28. I love u, RDJ!!! ❤