Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Robert Downey Jr.

The only thing Hollywood loves more than watching somebody fall is watching the same person get back up again. It doesn't happen very often. But no one in recent years has fallen and risen more dramatically than Downey, who came back from drug addiction and a stint in jail to lead this summer's Iron Man to some serious heavy metal at the box office — more than half a billion dollars worldwide. Eyebrow-raising too was his turn as an Australian actor playing a black actor in the R-rated comedy Tropic Thunder. Next year Downey will attempt to breathe new life into Sherlock Holmes. After what he's been through, it should be elementary.

Lev Grossman