Wednesday 23 October 2019

Declan Cashin: Reel Life

Declan Cashin

Considering that little more than a decade ago Robert Downey Jnr – in the neat inverse of the old adage – could only get arrested in Hollywood, this week's news that he is likely to become the highest paid actor in the history of the medium seems all the more remarkable.

The 48-year-old is reportedly close to signing a deal that will earn him around $100m for playing Tony Stark/Iron Man two more times.

To set the scene: for the past couple of weeks, negotiations have been ongoing to lock down the various cast members for the sequel(s) to last year's ginormous superhero spectacle Avengers Assemble.

All of the actors from the first instalment are back – the only hold-out was Downey Jnr.

The actor – who completed his contractual duties to play the character with the recently released (and really rather good) Iron Man 3 – was hit with all manner of threats from the studio that he would be replaced with a cheaper actor.

But it seems as if his co-stars like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans closed ranks behind Downey Jnr, seeing him as the de facto leader of salary bump negotiations, further strengthening his hand.

Keep in mind that Downey Jnr has already earned well over $50m from the first Avengers movie alone.

If this $100m deal comes to pass, he will easily eclipse the likes of Tom Cruise and Will Smith to become the most powerful movie star in the world.

On a related note, the man responsible for The Avengers, Joss Whedon, weighed in on his own money-making potential last week in a blog post on his site Whedonesque.

Responding to reports that he too would earn Downey Jnr money for writing and directing the follow-up, Whedon said: "I'm not getting $100 mil on Avengers 2. If I were, I would come on this site and laugh and laugh and laugh."

He continued: "I'm making A LOT, which is exciting. I'm not pretending to be a poor farmer, an Everyman, an ANYman. But that number is nuts."

Legendary comedian Richard Pryor (below) looks set to get the biopic treatment.

His widow Jennifer Lee Pryor is eager to resurrect long-gestating plans for a movie based on the controversial life of the firebrand comic, who died in 2005.

Forest Whitaker has taken over as producer, giving the project new momentum.

In terms of casting, Marlon Wayans was the frontrunner for a long time, but now the focus is on young actor Michael B Jordan, who TV fans will know from The Wire, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and who is about to become a much bigger player in Hollywood after his acclaimed Sundance hit Fruitvale debuts at the Cannes Film Festival in the coming days.

Lastly, here's a random one for you: Rick Moranis – he of Ghostbusters and Honey I Shrunk The Kids fame – has a new album coming out next week.

It's titled My Mother's Brisket and Other Love Songs and, though little is known about the project, you can get some sense of his musical prowess from his first album (seriously!), the 2005 country album, Agoraphobic Cowboy, that earned a Best Comedy Album nod at the Grammys.

Does this album mark something of a pop culture comeback? We'll see in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent

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