Not even the rain could stop Sherlock Holmes or Iron Man fans from getting a glimpse of their hero, Robert Downey Jr., as he received the allusive Hollywood honor of having his signature, hand and footprints forever immortalized in cement outside the doors of the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Hundreds of fans lined the streets of Hollywood Blvd. in the rain on Monday just to get a glimpse of the popular actor.
On hand were many of the executives from Warner Bros., the studio releasing Downey's upcoming new film Sherlock Holmes, as well as Marvel Studios' head honcho Kevin Feige along with Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau. As the excited crowd tried there best to stay dry, film critic and historian Leonard Maltin took to the stage to begin the festivities. Maltin explained that there are over two-hundred and forty-six people represented in cement in front of the theater and that in the 72 years the theater has been following this tradition there have been over two-hundred ceremonies but that this was the first one in history where it rained. He continued to state that the ceremony began as a promotional stunt by theater owner Sid Grauman in 1927 and Hollywood legends Douglass Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were the first inductees.
Maltin then introduced Warner Bros. President and CEO Alan Horn who had many kind words to say about Downey. Horn then brought on stage legendary film producer Joel Silver, who first worked with Downey on the 1984 classic teen-movie Weird Science. Silver shared a few memories about the actor before introducing the man of the hour himself. Finally, Downey approached the podium and began with this thought about his own unique career. "In a career that's had more dips than a French sandwich shop...this is actually very exciting." The actor continued, "I was very emotional this morning and now I'm just excited, this is great. What a great thing to be part of this tradition," Downey concluded.
Downey followed that up by first thanking his Mother who was in the audience. He leaped from the stage and gave her a big hug, when he returned to the stage she turned to the rest of the audience and gave a bow. "She's the talented one and I love that she is wearing an Iron Man 2 baseball hat right now," joked Downey. "Mom, that's a Marvel movie this is a Warner Bros. thing," he warned her. He continued by thanking his Marvel friends. "Speaking of which, I got all my Iron Man buddies back there who single handedly put me in the position to be as rude, calculating and manipulative as I like now, but as long as I charm it up when the cameras are rolling nobody can stop me." As Downey went on to thank Warner Brother Executives like Horn, Silver, his agents, lawyers and personal team, he continued to entertain the crowd with his ad-libs. "I had nothing planned, can you tell? Of all the days," he laughed. "We should have written this, this morning," Downey joked.
In a serious moment, the actor did not let the significance of this honor or the long road that he has traveled to get to this point slip him by. "A couple of years back I was kind of building myself back up from this very enjoyable, interesting career and life I've had because my life has really been about my career and now I'm looking at making my career part of my life," the actor said. Finally, Downey described a meeting he had several years ago with his agent as the best way to sum up his feelings about this historic achievement. "So, I met Bryan Lourd for breakfast and I said, you know I really feel like I need to do everything I can do. He said, 'Well, if you do your part ...' and I think there is only one requirement there, not to delve into my character defects to deeply. He said, '... we'll take care of the rest and we'll be having days like this together.' So what I really want to celebrate today is that for the first time, maybe in the history of Hollywood, an agent made a promise and kept it," Downey finished by joking.
After thanking his wife, Sherlock Holmes Producer Susan Downey, it was time for the actor to perform the honors. Downey first put his hands into the orange-like cement slab, followed by his signature and finally his footprint. After the ceremony, Downey was nice enough to spend a few minutes with us and answer some questions. First up, we wanted to find out how the version of Sherlock that Downey plays in the film is different from the original in the book? "Well I don't think it gets any more original than the way Conan Doyle wrote it and while I didn't follow it to a tee I just think its hard to do things better than the way that a great writer wrote it in a book," he answered. The actor went on to talk about the production and making the film with his wife Susan, who served as a Producer on the movie. "We're a team and I think what was part of what made Sherlock Holmes turn out so well is that I got to be on location with my partner, work our asses off and have a good time. We were so tired but at least we weren't missing each other," Downey said. When asked if there would be a Robert Downey III coming anytime soon for he and his wife the actor had this to say, "I don't have any royal bloodlines going on in me so I think the third, while it would be funny ... I think we'll have a girl probably."
Of course, fans can't wait for Downey to put the armor on again next summer for the highly anticipated sequel to the 2008 smash-hit film Iron Man, so we asked Downey to tell us the biggest surprise in store for fans with Iron Man 2? "That for once I'm not going to run my mouth to get the studio pissed off by telling (fans) about the plot," said Downey. He did go on to say what fans could expect from the film. "You can expect a worthy successor to the first one." Downey is supposedly attached to work with Favreau again on the film version of another popular comic book, Cowboys & Aliens based on a script by Star Trek scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, however when we asked him about this, the actor shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, said nothing and gave us a look like he had no idea what we were talking about. Downey's odd reaction ultimately begs the question, is Downey actually attached to the film or is that just another Hollywood rumor? Only time will tell.
Finally, since this was the first occasion in the history of the Grauman's Chinese Theater ceremonies where it actually rained, we thought it would be appropriate to ask Downey if he felt the rain was actually Arthur Conan Doyle smiling down on him? "I think Conan Doyle and the ghost of Sherlock Holmes is pouring down on us," he began. "That is really egocentric. I think it is raining today, that's what's happening, the actor finally concluded.