How familiar are you with The Shaggy Dog and Dolittle, both of which feature Robert Downey Jr. in key roles? Chances are, you may not have much to say about either, but that is far from the case for the man himself. In fact, the actor cites the two films as among the “most important” in his catalog.
Speaking with David Marchese for a recent New York Times profile, Downey was asked about his “post-Marvel” approach to choosing roles. One might assume, for instance, that Downey is not in a position of being required to work to make ends meet given the massiveness of his Marvel-boosted past. This question, unexpectedly, saw the actor bringing in the two aforementioned films as examples of key moments in his career, albeit for very different reasons.
“I finished the Marvel contract and then hastily went into what had all the promise of being another big, fun, well-executed potential franchise in Dolittle,” the actor told the publication of the 2020 film, directed by Stephen Gaghan. “I had some reservations. Me and my team seemed a little too excited about the deal and not quite excited enough about the merits of the execution. But at that point I was bulletproof. I was the guru of all genre movies.”
Dolittle, of course, went on to receive not-great reviews. The same could be said of the Brian Robbins-helmed Shaggy Dog, which was released back in 2006. That film, however, gave Downey another important victory at the time.
“Honestly, the two most important films I’ve done in the last 25 years are The Shaggy Dog, because that was the film that got Disney saying they would insure me. Then the second most important film was Dolittle, because Dolittle was a two-and-a-half-year wound of squandered opportunity,” Downey told the Times. “The stress it put on my missus as she rolled her sleeves up to her armpits to make it even serviceable enough to bring to market was shocking.”
These days, Dolittle and Shaggy matters are behind Downey; later this month, he’ll be seen among the fittingly stacked cast of Christopher Nolan’s latest, the sure-to-dazzle Oppenheimer. Downey plays Lewis Strauss in the heavily memed film and is joined in the cast by Cillian Murphy (as the titular physicist), Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Benny Safdie, and more (so many more).
As for his Marvel days, his Iron Man turn made studio history last December by becoming the first from the lineup to be inducted into the National Film Registry.
“Almost 15 years after the release of Iron Man… to have it join the film registry tells us it has stood the test of time and it is still meaningful to audiences around the world," Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said at the time.
Joining Iron Man in the 2022 class of inductees was other beloved films including When Harry Met Sally, Carrie, House Party, and more.