'Iron Man' star Robert Downey Jr. ponders his future as the next great action hero

Heartened as he is by the blogosphere’s embrace of his forthcoming Iron Man (opening May 2), Robert Downey Jr. isn’t prepared to commit to a complete career reinvention as an action badass. That’s what EW.com learned when we caught up with the actor at the ShoWest convention in Las Vegas last week. There, Downey accepted the Male Star of the Year award and kibbitzed with Ben Stiller while presenting footage from their August comedy Tropic Thunder, in which Downey portrays an actor who dyes his skin in order to play an African American. He also took a moment to respond to our query: Do these back-to-back gigs in a comic-book thriller and a Vietnam War sendup mean that the star of significantly quieter fare like Chaplin, Restoration, and Two Girls and a Guy is about to go all Nicolas Cage on us and appear in nothing but Jerry Bruckheimer explosion-fests from now on? “Mmmm, you mean Nicolas Cage, who also in the middle of all of that did The
Weather Man
, [Gore] Verbinski’s greatest movie?” Downey replied, without missing a beat. “And Matchstick Men! That’s so great. Here’s
what I would say: You know, I’m in my early 40s and it’s kind of great to have
this whole area of expression and excitement now — I probably won’t
burn out until I’m at least 50 now.”

addCredit(“Denise Truscello/WireImage”)

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