Robert Downey Jr. headlines at the Union

Hannah Graham and Colm Murphy 17 October 2014

Robert Downey Jr. impressed Cambridge students this evening at the Union’s headline event, where the highest paid actor in Hollywood, star of blockbusters such as Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, answered questions from star-struck students.

The film star was hotly anticipated, and large crowds had gathered outside the Union hours before the event started. Some of the most enthusiastic students were there five hours before the event was due to start, and three other rooms were completely full.

Union President Tim Squirrel was unapologetically pleased with the delays. Speaking to The Cambridge Student, he said: “It’s all about survival of the keenest. Those who turn up first, and are the most excited, are the ones that get into the chamber.”

Describing the Union invite as "a scintillating invitation", Downey Jr. said he was pleased to speak at the Union as "something out of the ordinary" compared to other events he has attended while in the UK to promote his latest film, The Judge. He coyly refused to share any spoilers, to the disappointment of eager fans.

Age of Ultron will, he claims, be ‘The best Marvel movie so far”, but students were unable to get any further information out of him regarding future Marvel projects. He made it clear, however, that he has taken great enjoyment in the production of Marvel movies, commenting memorably that "as far as I was concerned [Iron Man] was real, it was happening to me… practically a documentary."

Downey Jr. elicited plenty of laughs from the crowd with jokes, accents and creative use of the Union armchairs. Possibly the most surprising moment of the night came when a student requested that the star record lines for a radio play, a request which was promptly granted. 

RDJ signing Hannah Graham's poster – professional journalism! Photo credit: Colm Murphy

Answering questions on a number of aspects of his life and work, Downey Jr. was forthcoming on some subjects, though less so on others. He refused to delve into great detail about his early personal life when a student asked "when do people deserve a second chance" – which seemed to be a reference to his well documented history with drugs – and avoided a clear answer when he was asked "are you a feminist?".

At the end of the event, students were pleased to be invited to take part in a group picture with the star.

More details on the event can be found on our Twitter feed, where the news team were live-tweeting the entire conversation.