Robert Downey Jr. Talks Gwyneth Paltrow’s Struggles To Shift Away From Acting During Iron Man 1, And Why His Post-Marvel Journey Has Been Different

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark

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If you thought Robert Downey Jr. shared the personality with his on-screen character Tony Stark while he was active in the MCU, wait until you see him post Marvel. Downey is making the shift from acting into the business world, much like his Iron Man co-star Gwyneth Paltrow did at the beginning of their time together on the first film. While you would think the stars would have similar struggles with the transition, Downey reveals that his shift has been much easier than the one Paltrow faced over 10 years ago-- and just why that is the case.

In an interview with Daniel Roth for his segment “This is Working," Robert Downey Jr. described Gwyneth Paltrow as “ahead of the curve” with her lifestyle brand Goop, but said she still faced plenty of challenges in the beginning. Downey says it took the actress turned businesswoman years to gain credibility coming from a career in Hollywood, but she continued down the path she was on because it just “felt right to her." Here it is in the Sherlock Holmes star’s own words:

Well, first of all I want to double back because it was during pre-production for Iron Man 1 down that is now the YouTube megalopolis but was then the Hughes aircraft hangars where they built the Spruce Goose. And she was starting [Goop] up and she was ahead of the curve. It took her years to gain credibility, but she was undeterred because it felt right to her and turns out it was right.

Robert Downey Jr. is now post-Tony Stark and looking forward to entering the business world himself. Instead of a lifestyle brand, he is investing in businesses through his company Footprint Coalition, specifically, technology companies that are working toward a better, sustainable future. In the same interview, Downey says he has not met the same pushback as his co-star and friend Gwyneth Paltrow, and it’s all thanks to people associating him with Stark. Here’s what he has to say:

For me the future is uncertain but the credibility gap was a bit quicker only because of this strange association with this certain character I played who understood tech and who understood how to put it to work for creative and existential problem-solving. So, we laugh. I was at dinner with her and my missus and her fellow the other night. We were talking to a young, very promising founder of an AI customer service company, then all these other connections happened at the dinner table where we all realized we had been on each other’s minds in three or five other ways during this day. It’s those moments of undeniable synchronicity where you realize where you’ve caught up on some portion of your destiny.

It certainly does seem like Robert Downey Jr. is, in at least some sense, playing out his destiny. I mean, the man spent over a decade as a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist and now that his time in that role has ended, he has definitely not forgotten that part of his life and is bringing some of that same energy alive in real life. The fact that he hasn’t had the same credibility setbacks that Gwyneth Paltrow did makes it seem as if everyone else sees what Downey is doing with Footprint Coalition as some kind of destiny fulfillment for the star as well.

While Robert Downey Jr. is taking on a new initiative, he is still active in Hollywood as was Gwyneth when she started Goop. Downey may not be filling his plate with new film projects, but we can expect a third movie in his Sherlock Holmes series in the future. He also is upping his production game, having produced Netflix’s Sweet Tooth with his wife and having a number of other projects in the works. It sounds like we have a ton to look forward to from the genius, millionaire, wifed-up actor/producer/businessman.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.