Robert Downey Jr. was once a cautionary tale to the Hollywood elite, but nowadays the actor has cleaned up his act and taken the reins as one of Marvel’s biggest stars, playing Tony Stark, the man behind superhero Iron Man. Given the tabloid fodder surrounding much of his life, publications often skipped over the small details about the actor, like whether or not Robert Downey Jr. is left-handed.
Robert Downey Jr. is not left-handed. Despite that, the actor had to learn to play violin and play tennis as a southpaw for one of his movies, meaning that though it doesn’t come naturally, the actor can switch handedness when needed.
Read more below about Robert Downey Jr. and the iconic character he played that forced him to be left-handed during filming.
Hollywood Bad Boy turned Legendary Icon
Robert Downey Jr. was Hollywood’s favorite bad boy for much of the 1980s and 1990s. The actor came from a showbiz family and started acting when he was just a child.
By the time the 1980s rolled around, Downey Jr. was working consistently, oftentimes along the decade’s biggest stars, “The Brat Pack.” However, it was also during this time that Downey Jr.’s drug addiction worsened, seeing the actor spiral out of control.
Despite the personal demons, in 1992, Robert Downey Jr. tackled the role of the legendary Charlie Chaplin. The film focused on the life of the British comedian, and required Downey Jr. to not only look like, but also portray the Golden Era star with the same physicality.
Charlie Chaplin was born in England, but rose to prominence during the era of silent films in Hollywood. Tha actor would go on to have a 75 year career in the film industry and is considered a Tinsel Town legend, and a master of his craft.
One of the lesser known facts about Charlie Chaplin is that he was left-handed. Though he was forced to learn to write with his right hand, Charlie Chaplin was dominantly left-handed in every other activity.
Not only that, but Chaplin was an avid tennis player, as well as playing the violin. Chaplin often created the musical scores for his own films, and the comedian’s violin playing figured heavily into the mix.
Meticulous Movie Magic
All of this meant that Robert Downey Jr. had to tackle being a left-handed Chaplin in the film. Even though tennis was shown fleetingly in the film, Downey Jr. practiced learning to play tennis as a southpaw for months, though few who watched the film would have noticed or cared about the accuracy of such an insignificant detail.
All of Robert Downey Jr.’s hard work paid off though, with the actor receiving his first Academy Award nomination. Though he did not win the award, it proved Downey Jr.’s talent and passion towards his acting career.
You can watch a scene from Chaplin and see Robert Downey Jr.’s Academy Award nominated performance in the YouTube video below.
Setbacks and Success
Robert Downey Jr. would go on to career lows and highs after the making of Chaplin. His drug addiction worsened and he faced multiple arrests and trips to rehab, and at one point, no studio in Hollywood would bond him, meaning he was not allowed to work, and eventually Downey Jr. served three years in prison due to a patrol violation.
Eventually, however, the actor made a comeback, being cast in the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man. It would be a career defining move for Downey Jr., who would go on to play the role in 11 films, including 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time, and Downey Jr.’s character being at the center of the action.
Though Robert Downey Jr. will always be best known for playing Iron Man, it was his role as Charlie Chaplin, where he took his acting skills to the next level, and even overcame his right-handedness to portray a character as accurately as possible.