Robert Downey Jr. Says MCU Acting Was ‘Some of the Best Work I’ll Ever Do,’ but It Went ‘Unnoticed’ Because of the Genre

Robert Downey Jr. may be a predicted Oscars contender for his turn in “Oppenheimer,” but the actor is crediting his decade-long MCU career among his best performances.

During the “Literally! With Rob Lowe” podcast, Downey said that his tenure as Iron Man is “some of the best work I will ever do” onscreen, yet the performance “went a little bit unnoticed because of the genre.” (Downey has also said Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” was the “best film I’ve ever been in” and, on the podcast, called “Tropic Thunder” his “favorite movie ever.”)

More from IndieWire

After Downey’s Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, was killed off in “Avengers: Endgame,” Downey produced and starred in box office flop “Doolittle,” which he admitted made him feel “exposed” after being in the Marvel franchise.

“I felt so exposed after being in the cocoon of Marvel where I think I did some of the best work I will ever do, but it went a little bit unnoticed because of the genre,” Downey said. “[I] did myself a favor, because the rug was pulled so definitively out from underneath me and all the things that I was leaning on as opposed to what my understanding of confidence and security was, boy did they evaporate. And it rendered me teachable.”

Podcast host and fellow actor Rob Lowe called out Marvel for making a mistake in killing off Downey’s character.

“You know what I say. That phone is going to ring, baby, and I want to be on that call. I want to be negotiating for you,” Lowe said about Marvel inevitably asking Downey to return. “I know what your deal is. Here’s what you do. You go, ‘I’ll come back and I’ll play Tony Stark for you guys again since you fucked everything up. But I want a gazillion dollars. I know what that number should be, and I want the first dollar gross of every ensuing movie.’ That’s what I would do.”

Downey previously said that he “hastily went into what had all the promise of being another big, fun, well-executed potential franchise in ‘Dolittle'” post-Marvel.

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

Downey said that “Dolittle” proved to be a huge lesson as it “was a two-and-a-half-year wound of squandered opportunity.”

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.