Few can own a room like Robert Downey Jr., but the never-dull "Iron Man" star opted to concede the spotlight to Jamie Foxx at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago hotel. Well, more like share it.
Foxx, who received the Renaissance Award Saturday at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's annual benefit, was twice interrupted during his interviews on the red carpet by Downey Jr. — last year’s recipient and this year's host.
Nobody seemed to mind. Not Foxx, definitely not the media and not even Downey Jr.'s wife when he planted a surprise wet kiss on Foxx's cheek. Foxx, no slouch himself, would get his moment to shine during the gala, where he was interviewed by Downey Jr. and occasionally broke into song.
(My favorite moment? When Foxx greeted a couple at the posh gala with: "You guys look like you just came off a wedding cake.")
The gala marked Foxx¿s second visit to Chicago in three weeks. The Oscar-winner was one of many A-list stars to take part in Oprah Winfrey¿s farewell show at the United Center last month.
"It was crazy. It was like a celebrity 'Jurassic Park,'" Foxx said of the backstage during the show. "Like, oh man, you see Tom Cruise. You see Tom Hanks. Oprah doesn't like surprises. It was the first time she allowed people to surprise her.
"The great part was the day before, me and Stevie Wonder were in a hotel room working out what we were going to do on stage for Oprah in song. I imagine whoever was sleeping next to the room got a real treat with Stevie going at it."
Foxx joked that Winfrey's "retirement" will be like that of another Chicago icon. "Oprah can't leave," the "Ray" star said. "I have a feeling she'll be like Michael Jordan. She's going to go play baseball for a year, bat around .180 and then come back."
Speaking of coming back, Foxx confirmed reports that he is bringing the "Showtime at the Apollo" television series to BET this year. The talent competition aired from 1987 to 2008 and helped many comedians get their start, including Foxx.
"We're asking back anyone who's ever been affected by it or had anything to do with it," said Foxx, who will serve as producer on the show. "Sometimes it's tough for us to understand (that) if it hadn¿t been for the Apollo a lot of us wouldn't be here. We want to tap everyone on the shoulder and say, ‘Come give back, come sit in the audience, come judge for us. Apollo has been in our DNA for a long time. Let's not let it fail."
Meanwhile, Downey Jr., who co-starred with Foxx in 2009's "The Soloist" and 2010's "Due Date," insisted that his wife and Schaumburg native Susan Downey join him when he spoke to media on the red carpet. "Lady, get over here," he said. "I didn't buy that dress for nothing."
The 46-year-old actor was on a break from filming the Marvel superhero crossover film "The Avengers" in New Mexico. The movie, which has been in the works since 2005 and had some doubting if it would ever get made, will feature superheroes Iron Man (again played by Downey Jr.), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, stepping in for Edward Norton) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), among others.
Is there any way the movie can meet fanboys' expectations?
"Yes," responded Downey Jr. "I wouldn't have said that a month ago, but it¿s actually going to be pretty good. It's really tough to imagine all those superheroes actually making sense together but Joss Whedon, our director, is an incredibly surprising individual with what he's been able to think out.
"And will Downey Jr. reprise the Iron Man role one more time after that? "Well, one for sure: `Iron Man 3,'" he responded. "And then we'll renegotiate … again."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun