Robert Downey Jr., renowned for his success as an actor, possesses a remarkable collection of classic cars, which he humorously refers to as the artifacts of his achievements. However, he has come to realize that the conventional symbols of fame and wealth, like trophies, do not bring him the satisfaction he expected. This realization served as inspiration for his latest project, “Downey’s Dream Cars,” which premiered recently on Max.
During the premiere at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Downey expressed that material wealth and rewards have never been his primary motivation. This sentiment still holds true for him today. While “Downey’s Dream Cars” primarily caters to car enthusiasts, it is not limited to that audience alone. Downey aims to experiment with the genre by creating an eco-friendly version of “Pimp My Ride,” blending elements of memoir and a documentary on advancements in clean technology.
Downey explained, “The idea was to try to innovate a little bit in this kind of storytelling.” In each episode, he willingly hands over control of his cherished automobiles to experts who modify them to become more environmentally sustainable. These modifications include converting the cars to electric power, using biodiesel fuel, and even incorporating mushroom leather. Downey hopes that the show will provide a glimpse into the future of sustainability, showcasing what is attainable today while highlighting the promise of technological progress.
While “Downey’s Dream Cars” primarily revolves around cars and technology, it also offers a surprising level of tenderness and introspection. Through the show, viewers get a window into Downey’s personal growth, transcending his well-known struggles with drug addiction that defined his public image for years prior to his role as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Downey demonstrates a keen awareness of the cinematic influences and capitalist values that led him to build his car collection. Throughout the series, he reflects on his life, family, and shifting priorities, particularly as they relate to the future of the planet. His wife, Susan Downey, a producer who often collaborates with him, shares his commitment to environmental activism and served as an executive producer for the show.
While both Downeys acknowledge the personal responsibility individuals have in combating climate change, they also emphasize the importance of holding corporations accountable. Susan Downey praised her husband for his efforts in this regard and acknowledged that significant changes must occur at a higher level to make a substantial impact.
In recent years, Robert Downey Jr. has become widely recognized for his activism, notably after establishing the FootPrint Coalition, a venture capital fund that invests in climate technology and artificial intelligence. In the series, Downey expresses frustration with society’s inefficiency and lack of collective will to make progress in these areas. This frustration fueled his decision to create both the company and the show.
Despite concerns surrounding the uncharted territory of AI and its potential risks, Downey maintains his belief in its ability to combat climate change. He suggests that fears regarding its capabilities should be tempered, but proper guidelines should be established. He acknowledges the historical pattern of fear and hope accompanying emerging technologies, and while he remains optimistic about AI’s potential for good, he stresses the need for responsible development and use.