Being the star in a franchise of mega-movies like Tom Holland is hard stuff – and nobody knows this better than Robert Downey Jr. The 55-year-old icon’s name laces franchises such as the MCU, Sherlock Holmes, and an unfortunately failed ‘Dr. Dolitte’ reboot. In a recent GQ interview, Downey Jr. praised MCU Spider-Man, Tom Holland, for dealing with his incredible fame. Downey Jr. says that casting isn’t everything, but being a Marvel star is also about “being able to carry the mantle.”
When asked what he means, Downey Jr. elaborates:
To be able to weather the trial by fire that rains down on someone when taking on such a thing. Marvel fans are wonderfully yet terrifyingly committed. They absorb all of you. They expect to. Becoming Spider-Man is a bit like going down a K-hole: it’s easy to get lost in there. Add in the fact that you are worked relentlessly. It’s crazy. But Tom can handle it. I could tell. He’s a beekeeper.
When asked about the ‘beekeeper’ metaphor, Downey Jr. says, “Me, Tom, the Marvel guys, we’re beekeepers. It’s not sexy. It’s hot under those damn suits.” He describes Marvel work as “sweating to make the sweet, sweet syrupy nectar to be consumed for our leaders”, jokingly describing Tom and himself as “Overpaid beekeepers”.
Robert Downey Jr. describes Tom Holland’s ongoing celebrity resilience as a “Chaplin-esque thing. He’s an honourable cockney.” He continues, “Do you know where the terms ‘cockney’ comes from? Middle English ‘coken-ey’, or a ‘cock’s egg’ – a small, unshapen egg. Tom’s different.”
Speaking of Holland’s career outside the MCU, the former Iron Man says that “Tom won’t be playing Spider-Man when he’s 37″ and that “there was a Spider-Man before Tom Holland and there will be a Spider-Man after Tom Holland.”
While Downey Jr. admits he is “protective of Tom, sure”, he “protect[s] his right to be his own man”. He describes their relationship as “brothers”. He says he is not Tom Holland’s “weird, rich uncle. He is not my protégé. We’re just… folk.”
But that seemingly age-old question remains – will Robert Downey Jr. play Iron Man again? “I have alighted, for now. Real world to save. But never say never.”
Tom Holland’s latest film Cherry is available on Apple TV+ on March 12, 2021. Have you seen Cherry in theatres? If not, are you going to stream it online when it comes out? Let us know in the comments below.