Robert Downey Jr. was worried playing Iron Man for 10 years would affect his acting skills

11 July 2023, 15:44 | Updated: 14 March 2024, 13:09

Oppenheimer sweeps Oscars as Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy take top gongs

By Katie Louise Smith

Oppenheimer is Robert Downey Jr.'s second film after exiting the MCU and saying goodbye to Iron Man.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Back in 2023, before Oppenheimer was released and before he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film, Robert Downey Jr. opened up about portraying other characters on screen in his post-MCU career, and how he thought playing one character for more than a decade may have had an impact on his wider acting skills.

Robert plays the supporting role of Lewis Strauss in the film, opposite fellow Oscar winner Cillian Murphy. Oppenheimer is only Robert's second major project in his post-MCU career, following 2022's Doolittle.

In a profile with The New York Times, the actor shared that he was "a hundred percent" concerned that his acting abilities might have changed after portraying the same character for over 10 years.

READ MORE: Robert Downey Jr. criticised for 'ignoring' Ke Huy Quan ahead of his Oscars speech

Robert Downey Jr. opens up about acting in his post-MCU career
Robert Downey Jr. opens up about acting in his post-MCU career. Picture: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix, Marvel Studios/Disney

Speaking to the publication, Robert acknowledged that he hadn't starred in a major role that wasn't part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for quite a while, which meant he hadn't had the chance to explore other types of characters that might require him to use different parts of his acting skill set.

Explaining why he was concerned, he said: "You start to wonder if a muscle you have hasn't atrophied."

"I knew there was a point where Chris Nolan was endorsing, let's work those other muscles, but let's do it while rendering you devoid of your usual go-to things," he continued, praising the director for helping him pull his performance out of him.

Robert Downey Jr. portrayed Tony Stark for 10 years in the MCU
Robert Downey Jr. portrayed Tony Stark for 10 years in the MCU. Picture: Marvel Studios/Disney

At the time, fans on social media were excited to see what Robert's post-MCU roles would like. Some even tipped him to pick up an Oscar nomination and maybe even a win for his performance in Oppenheimer.

And they were right! Robert did end up winning Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards!

WATCH: Millie Bobby Brown vs. 'The Most Impossible Millie Bobby Brown Quiz'

Millie Bobby Brown vs. 'The Most Impossible Millie Bobby Brown Quiz'