Robert Downey is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, thanks in part to his popular role as "Iron Man." Now he can add the title of producer to his résumé.
Downey and his wife, Susan, will unveil on Oct. 10 the first film from their new production company, Team Downey. The family drama "The Judge" stars Downey and Robert Duvall. Susan Downey is a longtime film producer with credits such as "Gothika," "Kiss, Kiss, Bang Bang," and "Sherlock Holmes" under her belt.
Just before a recent screening of "The Judge" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Robert and Susan Downey sat down with The Frame to explain why being married to your business partner isn’t necessarily a bad thing, what "The Judge" represents for Team Downey's goals, and how the name "Team Downey" came to be.
On why they decided to mix business with their personal lives:
Robert Downey: By the time we were doing "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," and then by the time we were doing the first "Sherlock," we just realized that it really didn't matter what kind of movie we were doing. We knew how to do it better with each other. It's like working with mercury. Being a producer is, honestly, it's a thankless job, and it's so hard, and yet she finds a way to make it rewarding.
Susan Downey: For me, personally, there were two guiding principles on why to do the company together, 'cause a lot of people say, "Ah, how do you work with your spouse, how do you do it, where do you divide the line? [But] it's all we know. You know what I mean? I wouldn't know what it's like to not work with him, because even in the years we weren't doing pictures together or didn't have the company yet, we were still always in each other's business somehow, creatively. He'd ask me questions from a producer's standpoint, I would look to him for guidance in dealing with actors. But our roles aren't limited there, which is, I think, the real beauty of the relationship.
On the types of movies that Team Downey wants to create:
Susan: For me, "The Judge," is smart and it's character-driven, but really accessible. As Robert was saying earlier, it's an audience's movie, and it's not trying to be too precious...
Robert: Beware the passion project.
Susan: Yes, exactly. We are not going to be confined by a genre...If you're looking at a spectrum, and we're going to make something that's considered a drama — which I guess you'd have to categorize this movie as — we always want to do it with humor involved. That's life. In the same way, if we're doing something that maybe falls a little closer on a comedy spectrum, we want to make sure that it's really grounded.
On the origin of the name "Team Downey":
Susan: Okay, so we were literally [wondering], "What should we name it, what should we call it? "And we were working on "Due Date" together, because I was an executive producer on that...So we were literally scratching our heads. We were trying to do some weird stuff with our names, but I was given the advice: Don't do something you have to explain every time.
At the same time, honestly, people are referring to us, but also all the people who were consistently [working] with us... and I'm like, Great, but what should we call our company? It was literally in front of our face, and then finally we stopped and were like, Is it obnoxious? No, it kinda just makes sense, and you certainly don't have to explain it.