Few have flaunted their acting breaks with as much aplomb as Gwyneth Paltrow, who uses her Oscar as a doorstop and can’t recall which Marvel movies she appeared in. But despite her superhero-induced amnesia, it’s her Iron Man co-star Robert Downey Jr. whom Paltrow names as the only actor that might be able to end her moviemaking hiatus.
Between running her lifestyle brand Goop and generating memes during her ski accident trial earlier this year, Paltrow’s focus is no longer on acting, she confirmed in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight. “Well, it would be very hard for me to do any acting right at the moment, just because of my job,” Paltrow said. “But, I guess Robert Downey Jr. could probably always get me back. You know, to some degree.”
The pair played power couple Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in several films, starting with 2008’s Iron Man. They reunited for the last time in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Since then, Paltrow has appeared only in her husband Brad Falchuk’s Netflix series The Politician, which released its second season in June 2020, and performed voice roles on American Horror Stories and She Said. During an interview with Marvel alum Scarlett Johansson on The Goop Podcast earlier this year, Paltrow was asked if she’s finished with the MCU. “I think so,” she answered at the time. “I mean, I didn’t die, so they can always ask me.”
In 2020, Paltrow said that her acting pause comes in the wake of her achieving many of her career goals by her mid-20s, when she won the Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love. “I think that when you hit the bullseye when you’re 26 years old and you’re a metrics-driven person—who frankly doesn’t love acting that much, as it turns out,” she told SiriusXM’s Bruce Bozzi, “I sort of felt like, well, now who am I supposed to be? What am I driving towards?”
In another interview, Paltrow said that the public turned on her after the Oscar win, and the “big energy shift” taught her to be “less openhearted and much more protective of myself and filter people out better,” she told Call Her Daddy podcast host Alex Cooper. “I felt a real pivot on that night because I felt, like, up until that moment, everybody was kind of rooting for me in a way. And then, when I won, it was, like, too much, and I could feel a real turn.”
But Paltrow has maintained that she’s not permanently uncoupled from the big screen. “I’ve never said that I am quitting acting,” Paltrow told Today’s Savannah Guthrie in 2021. “Goop is my full-time passion . . . occasionally, when [an acting job] is the right thing and it works out around my children and my Goop life, I’m able to participate. I think I’m just not focused on full-time acting right now.”
The following year, Paltrow told Willie Geist, “It’s funny, I don’t daydream about the movie business at all. But, you know, I did promise my mother [Blythe Danner] that at some point before I die, I told her that I would go and do a play. So I’m going to deliver on that promise at some point.” Your move, RDJ.