Robert Downey Jr. Sure Loves His Tentpoles: Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and Now Perry Mason

The ProjectorOctober 5, 2011
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It's amazing to think that about 10 years ago a lot of people thought Robert Downey Jr.'s career was over. After a series of arrests on drug charges, Downey seemed like one of those celebrities you saw in court more than on a theater screen. But to his credit, he cleaned up and turned his life around, and now he's one of our biggest stars. Good for him: We always liked the guy, and we're happy to see him taste the kind of success he's long deserved. Still, we can't help but notice how he almost always does big-budget, high-profile pics these days. Sure, the guy can act -- he's amazing in "Wonder Boys" and "Zodiac" -- but lately Downey the Actor has taken a backseat to Downey the Superstar.

We were thinking about this after seeing the news that he's going to be doing a big-screen version of "Perry Mason," a TV show our parents got us hooked on as kids. We've got no beef with him signing up for that remake -- he projects the right sort of smarts to play that character really well -- but it prompted us to check out his IMDb page. Here's what he's been doing of late:

"Iron Man 3"
"The Avengers"
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"
"Due Date"
"Iron Man 2"
"Sherlock Holmes"
"The Soloist"
"Tropic Thunder"
"The Incredible Hulk" (cameo)
"Iron Man"

Except for "The Soloist," they're all pretty big projects that are gunning for major box office. And then you think about the projects he's turned down recently -- "Oz: The Great and Powerful" and "Cowboys & Aliens" -- and you see that in the last several years he certainly hasn't been one of those "one for the studios, one for me" actors. We're not questioning his motives or his artistic integrity, but we do sorta miss the Downey who would do "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," "Zodiac," "A Scanner Darkly" and "Good Night, and Good Luck" within the span of about three years. We really love Downey as Tony Stark, but we don't want that to be the only Robert Downey Jr. out there in theaters.

Warner Bros., Downey team for 'Perry Mason'