Why Robert Downey Jr. Was Called A ‘Wimp’ By Gwyneth Paltrow When Filming ‘Iron Man 3’

Marvel Cinematic Universe star Robert Downey, Jr. launched the blockbuster franchise in 2008 as Iron Man. Appearing in various MCU films since his debut as Tony Stark, Downey’s success on screen can be partially credited to his chemistry with co-star Gwyneth Paltrow.

Playing Tony’s love interest Pepper Potts, Paltrow also had a key role in several MCU movies. Throughout the Iron Man trilogy, Paltrow’s character focused on supporting the superhero. Yet in Iron Man 3, Pepper took on a new task in the film which wasn’t as difficult as she expected.

Robert Downey Jr (L) and Gwyneth Paltrow pose at the 'Iron Man 3' photo call at The Dorchester
Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow of ‘Iron Man 3’ | Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Pepper Potts gets a promotion

Downey and Paltrow have previously discussed what draws them to the franchise and why the MCU seems to attract top names in the industry.

“Kind of like Tony’s obsession with the suit, this genre of movie… it’s addictive,” Downey told Oregon Live in 2013. “Because they’re big movies. Interesting people seem to be drawn to them in recent years. You get really cool directors, people really running wild with their imagination.”

In the 2013 film Iron Man 3, Pepper goes from Tony’s personal assistant to CEO of his empire. The actress even takes on some action moves and dons the infamous Iron Man suit.

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“I seriously question all my career choices up to that point,” Paltrow commented. “It’s like, what have I been doing in these highbrow frigging corset things? This is so much more fun.”

Gwyneth Paltrow is pals with Mrs. Downey

Both stars of the Iron Man trilogy are married with children. Paltrow has even formed a close friendship with Downey’s wife, Susan, over the years.

“The cool thing is, and speaking of girl power, is she and the missus are friends,” Downey shared, to which Paltrow replied, “I love his wife.”

With Susan being in the industry as a producer, the two women have plenty in common between work and family.

“They’re both, like, type-A, organized,” Downey explained. “So Susan and Gwyneth organize our ability to stay close and keep our doors open to each other and be current with each other’s lives and each other’s kids.”

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Paltrow emphasized that they all make spending leisure time together a priority. “It’s fun,” the Oscar-winning actress said. “We make an effort, because life can just get so busy and complicated, and we really go out of our way to carve out little pockets of time.”

‘Iron Man’ – a wimp?

The Shakespeare in Love star was a bit apprehensive when it came time to put on the legendary superhero suit for Iron Man 3. After hearing horror stories from Downey about how uncomfortable casted costume could be, Paltrow went in expecting the worst.

“I thought it was going to be terrible because in the first two movies Robert would put on the suit and start sweating,” Paltrow said in 2013, according to Radio Times. “He’d have a nervous breakdown and would meditate and cry. He was in hell. So, I was like, ‘Wow, I’d better start mentally preparing myself for the suit.’”

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To her surprise, The Avengers actress didn’t find the attire all the bothersome. “I put it on and was, like, ‘This guy is a wimp,” Paltrow teasingly said of Downey. “It’s really not that bad.’”

The Contagion star clearly enjoyed her new physical aspects of the role in Iron Man 3. “I do get to kick ass. I get to do a bit of action,” Paltrow revealed. “It’s very cool.”