Ask a young moviegoer to name a larger-than-life genius played by Robert Downey Jr. and they’ll probably name Tony Stark or Sherlock Holmes. The actor himself, however, might cite Charlie Chaplin. Downey earned his first Oscar nomination for channeling the Litttle Tramp in Chaplin (1992), which was produced and directed by Richard Attenborough, the esteemed British actor and filmmaker who today, at age 89, still presides over the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
The actor’s affection for Attenborough as a mentor gives him common ground with Ben Kingsley, who portrays the nefarious terrorist the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 (opening May 3). Kingsley, you’ll recall, won an Oscar for the title role in Attenborugh’s most celebrated film, Gandhi, in 1982. Here, Downey talks about that bond in the third installment of our five-part interview with the brightest silver screen star in the Marvel Universe. (Part 1 was posted Monday, Part 2 followed Tuesday.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You mentioned Don Cheadle as one of the returning players who has a key contribution to the new film. What about the newcomers to the ensemble? Ben Kingsley, for instance, plays Mandarin, a Marvel character that first appeared in 1964 and is considered the hero’s signature archenemy.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR.: Sir Ben is probably going to steal the movie. There are a lot of contenders who may, but right now he’s probably at the top of that list. He came in as, obviously – speaking of training – as such a technically proficient instrument. And then what proceeded to happen was the release of more vintage, old-school Favreau [improv] stuff with a Shane Black twist on it. It was kind of frightening to witness, I’ll tell you that much. READ FULL STORY