Robert Downey Jr. has stated, more than once, that Iron Man 3 would be the last solo Iron Man flick. That he’ll don the armor for The Avengers: Age of Ultron (and he’s likely contractually obligated to do Avengers 3), but that’s it. Marvel has been berry berry good to him, but he’s got other movies to make — like The Judge — and he wants a bit of his life back.
Then he gave an interview with Deadline Hollywood that shifted things a bit. In case you don’t want to wade through it, here’s the upshot: Downey would do Iron Man 4, but only if it’s directed by Mel Gibson — who starred with Downey in 1990’s Air America.
The same Mel Gibson who, after being pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence in 2006, ended an epic rant at the police officer with “Fucking Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?”
Downey claims that Gibson has changed and, if anyone knows anything about pulling one’s self out of a life and career tailspin, it’s Downey. And, you know what? Gibson is a world-class filmmaker. He won an Oscar for directing Braveheart, Passion of the Christ made $611 million worldwide, and Apocalypto is one of the best action films of the past decade.
But Downey has put Disney in a bit of a pickle. As screenwriter Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class) points out:
RDJ Jr. making Disney choose between the flak they’d get for hiring Gibson & not making a billion dollars is some Saw-level sadistic genius.— Zack Stentz (@MuseZack) October 3, 2014
If you’re a movie studio, how do you say no to a guaranteed hit, when your job is to make guaranteed hits? But how do you say yes to a possible public relations nightmare?
Either way, this is gonna be so fun to watch.
Marc Bernardin is the Deputy Editor of Playboy.com. He has a soft spot for Gibson’s Tequila Sunrise because it features Michelle Pfeiffer at her most Pfeifferiest, but even the mention of tequila makes him queasy, thanks to that one time in Utah that he doesn’t want to talk any more about, thank you.