Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Industry, Insurance, and Iron Man

Sonny Bunch has a nice item up about Robert Downey Jr.'s chemical and political reformation. But it got me wondering about this:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember some reports about Downey during his nadir that he was becoming unemployable not because he couldn't handle the work, but because the insurance costs of having him as part of a production were too steep. Maybe I'm misremembering this, but I feel like it was some time around his Ally McBeal stint.

Even if I'm misremembering, though, and the insurance costs weren't prohibitive for using Downey, surely they must have been, at least during his bad period, quite a bit higher than they would be for an equivalent actor (like, say, Colin Firth).

All of which leads me to wonder: How in the world was Favreau able to use Downey as the lead in a giant, super-budget, Summer action movie? Did the studio just eat the extra insurance costs because Favreau dug in and insisted on Downey, or have the adjusters down-graded Downey's status so that he's now judged an normal risk? Whatever the case, this seems like a really interesting little business story that I wish someone would report.


Anonymous said...

My understanding was not the premium cost - it went to the fact that he was uninsurable at any price.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Mel Gibson put up his insurance money, which I think is interesting but probably untrue.

Anonymous said...

I must defend the honor of my profession and make a nitpicking correction. It's underwriters who would determine the premium. Adjusters would only be called in if Downey choked on his own vomit or some such.

Anonymous said...


If only you knew someone that was a reporter that could really get to the bottom of things like this!


Alexie said...

"The Industry, insurance, and Iron Man"
Galley Thanks for posting this