"I am Iron Man." These words are considered closed to holy words by the fans in the world of superheroes. Credited to have bought to life one of the most popular comic book characters, Iron Man, it is safe to state that Robert Downey Jr has made us all fall in love with superhero films all over again since the release of Jon Favreau's Iron Man in 2008. The 55-year-old, who is also the brand ambassador for OnePlus, has been in the industry for about five decades. Besides his decade-long association with Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has been seen in movies such as Chaplin (1992), Tropic Thunder (2009) and Sherlock Holmes (2010), among others.
How has the past few months been for you?
I've been spending a lot of time with [my] family. It's hard not to be occasionally overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge we're facing in this pandemic but nothing has slowed for the strong of spirit during this time. It has been a relentless, pride-swallowing siege of a time, yet productive.
A lot has been asked and spoken about your character Tony Stark and Iron Man. Was it at any point a difficult step for you?
Each project is different. Playing Tony/Iron Man was hard and I dug deep. I had an incredible 10-year run that was creatively satisfying.
How much of Robert Downey Jr. is still Tony Stark?
Sure, some would think so since I'm doing tech-based climate solutions with my FootPrint Coalition and my technology focused YouTube original, The Age of A.I. but I believe in aesthetic distance. I'm not Tony.
Has it been easy to come out of the character that you have lived for about 10 years in the MCU?
I've done all I could with that character and can do other things now. Now, being middle-aged, you start looking at the back nine and realize this is all part of the journey and things end. I am fortunate and eternally grateful to have wound up where I have.
As a global icon, how important is it for you to set the right example for your fans across the globe?
I believe in this completely. I have the best fans in the world and I aim to utilise my platform for good — to share things I uncover about the world, climate, technology.
Tell us about your relationship with India. What do you have to say about your fan following here?
My fans here are amazing and I cannot thank them enough for their support. I still can't believe that I've never visited the country in person and I cannot wait to plan a trip.
How would you say you have transformed as an actor and as an individual over the years?
I had an incredible 10-year run with Marvel which pushed me creatively. I now have tons more ambition to do things I haven't done before. Evolving is key — the worst thing you can do is get in your own way. Just in the matter of me wanting to be a fit father, husband and citizen, it'd be irresponsible of me to not keep my eye ahead so I can prepare my mind for what's to come and the transition. As an actor, every time I get a script now, I think about the commitment and time I'd be away from my missus and kiddos.
As a tech enthusiast, how has your association with OnePlus been?
Just getting exposed to tech outside the US and our Samsung/Apple duopoly has been a real treat. Teaming with OnePlus and seeing their growth in India and other regions is pretty eye-opening.
What made you choose OnePlus as a brand to partner with?
The dichotomy of OnePlus was super intriguing. It was a unique situation where they were dominant in certain markets, like India, but had ground to gain in others, making the creative process equally as challenging and rewarding.