Birthday Boy Robert Downey Jr. Hits The Road For ‘Iron Man 3′ and ‘The Avengers 2′

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

It's Robert Downey Jr.'s birthday today, and as the actor turns 48, his good friends at Marvel Studios have decided to give him the chance to celebrate by racking up some serious frequent flyer miles.

With "Iron Man 3" poised to open in theaters on May 3, Marvel and Paramount Pictures are sending Downey on a global press junket to publicize what will likely be one of the year's biggest blockbusters. The "Iron Man 3 World Tour" launches today in Korea, where hopefully someone will be thoughtful enough to offer him some cake, ice cream, and sparkling cider (no champagne, sobriety is working for Downey) as he talks up his latest turn as Tony Stark.

On April 6, the tour takes Downey to Beijing, and Sir Ben Kinsley (who plays the Mandarin in "Iron Man 3") will join Downey for the next stop, an April 10 event in Moscow. Gwyneth Paltrow, known to fanboys as Pepper Potts, will take some time off from promoting her new cookbook to meet up with Downey for an April 12 appearance in Munich. There will be a special screening of "IM3" at Le Grand Rex Cinema in Paris on April 14, and Downey and Paltrow will make an appearance in Paris the following day.

Six of Downey's cast and crew mates will be joining him for the April 17 event in London; along with Downey, Paltrow, and Kingsley, Don Cheadle (James Rhodes), Rebecca Hall (Maya Hansen), director Shane Black, and producer Kevin Feige will all be on hand. "Iron Man 3" receives its official American premiere on April 24 at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles, and Downey, Paltrow, Kingsley, Cheadle, Hall, Black, and Feige will all be among the celebrities in attendance. And Downey will wrap up the tour with a visit to New York City on April 29.

After all that globe trotting, Downey will get to enjoy some down time at home before hitting the road again, though this time he'll be staying in one place for a few months. In early 2014, Downey will be donning his "Iron Man" suit again as filming begins on "The Avengers 2," which will be shot at Pinewood-Shepperton Studios in

London, England. One of the UK's leading film production centers, Marvel will also be using Pinewood Shepperton for their upcoming projects "Thor: The Dark World" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." Downey is already familiar with Shepperton, since his two "Sherlock Holmes" pictures were shot there, and he'll have some friends along for the ride; also returning for "The Avengers 2" are Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Chris Evans as Captain America.

See the trailer for 'Iron Man 3':