Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Redemptive Ironman

With a worldwide gross of over $480 million, Ironman is a mega-blockbuster. The irony of that is not lost on its star, Robert Downey, Jr.

In 1992, he turned in an Oscar-nominated performance in Chaplain and it seemed Downey had no where to go but up. He went no where but down. No one doubted his acting ability, in fact, directors and actors alike laud him as one of the best in the business. However, personally he had become, as he puts it, “the poster boy for ­pharmaceutical mismanagement”. He lost roles because the insurance on him was prohibitive, he was fired from Ally McBeal, his comeback vehicle at the time. He was more recognized for appearances on Court TV than in movies.

In 2002, he had to put up his entire salary from the film to be in Gothika. The gamble paid off. He met his current wife, Susan Levin, who refused to marry him unless he gave up drugs. He did.

And then along came Ironman. In an interview in the London Telegraph, Downey said, “My victory has been hard won.” That was especially true for getting the role of Tony Stark. On the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Downey recounts telling the studio making the film that he thought he should be Ironman. “They told me I should go on thinking that,” he says with a grin. He had to screen test for the role - something he hadn’t done since Chaplain. “I’m really good at screen tests,” he smirked to Leno.

Life has come full circle. Downey is back where he was after Chaplain, only this time he’s clean, sober and a self-avowed family man. With this megahit, Downey says, “Finally, I’ve got something bigger than my past.” He recognizes the parallels between his life and that of Tony Stark. “People respond to the story. . . .people know my story,” he says. In a recent interview, he said he can feel the public wanting him to succeed.

Comebacks resonate with us because they are part of the ultimate story – Fall and Redemption. We see this time and again in Scripture and, as a Christian, I see it repeatedly in my life. I screw up and the Lord graciously helps me come back – time and again.

In Ironman, opportunistic weapons manufacturer and party animal Tony Stark transforms into a man with a mission. Robert Downey, Jr. transforms from playboy druggie to family man. And we the public cheer both.

[If you’ve seen the movie but didn’t stay through the credits for the extra scene, go here.]

1 comment:

RosieBoo said...

Excellent movie! And, Robert Downey, Jr, is just one sexy man :) Even more so now that he's clean. Loved loved loved! the movie. (and the extra scene ;)