"Iron Man" opens up about his dynamic duo


Thanks to blockbuster action movies like "Iron Man" and "The Avengers," Robert Downey Jr. is currently the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

He raked in over $75 million in the past year alone.

But his latest movie, "The Judge," is a departure. He told "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Norah O'Donnell it is much more than just a courtroom drama.

"I thought, 'ugh court room drama, it sounds boring and dramatic.' And then as we developed it, it became, it's so much more than the poster or the trailers," he said. "This kind of really full piece of dramatic entertainment with a lot of humor and a lot of great pathos in it I think."

At the core, it's a story about family and the often complicated relationships that arise as generations age together.

In the film, Downey plays Hank Palmer, an abrasive big city lawyer who reluctantly returns home to attend his mother's funeral.

"I like that he starts out, he's such a mess and he doesn't really recognize it and he has all this resistance and he goes back and the last thing he wants to do is get caught up in having to deal with a huge family crisis because his mom just passed away and all that stuff," Downey said. "He thinks he's going to get in and get out and I love the fact that circumstances make it so he has to stay."

While there, he's forced to face his estranged father, played by Oscar winner Robert Duvall.

For an actor used to high-octane action films, Downey said playing this role was different -- because it left him with fewer injuries.

"It was also great to continually with, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton and Vince and Jeremy Strong, who plays Dale, it was just like, it's a family that's, you're kind of becoming a family but you're pretending to be a family and they're filming as you kind of have these experiences," Downey said.

When the film hits theaters on Friday, his acting is only one thing for which he'll be judged.

The movie is the first to be released by his new production company, "Team Downey," co-headed by his wife and producer, Susan.

"I like working with her," Downey said.

But the dynamic duo don't get to see each other every day. For that, they've developed something they call the two-week rule.

"It's a very important rule," Downey explained. "We don't go more than two weeks without seeing each other. I think we've collapsed that down."

He said he and his wife saw too many other couples struggle and eventually fail from working more than they would spend time together.

"Basically in any profession, you have two professionals or even a stay at home dad with a wife out there who's traveling a bunch, we just noticed too many relationships tend to suffer and eventually fall apart cause you just lose that contact and that communication," Downey said.

He also credits his wife for helping change his life.

"She's just so normal, that's a terrible word -- she's so grounded and efficient and thoughtful," he said. "She's a great mom, she's a great wife, she's a great producer and she's very consistent, where as I have become more accustomed in my field of work, you meet people who are less grounded and more flighty and all that stuff."

During his battle with addiction, she helped ground him.

"Well at the end of the day, you have to do it yourself but she's just that kind of gal that's not going to mess around," Downey explained. "She wants to be all-in and I knew she'd taken on a lot so I just decided when she said, 'don't cheat on me and don't relapse and we're gonna be fine. If you do either of those, I'm out,' and I was like 'man, she's not kidding."

Sober and happily married nine years now, Downey and his wife are expecting their second child, a girl.

Finally it seemed almost everything in Downey's life was just right, until last month, when his life unfortunately came to imitate his art.

In a touching Facebook tribute to his mother's passing, Downey wrote about how she, too, battled addiction, and credited her with overcoming his own.

"I said at the end, 'oh, if anyone has a mother and she's not perfect, call her and say you love her anyway,'" Downey recalled.

He said what he wrote wasn't manufactured.

"I don't know, well first of all I just kind of wrote it on a smart phone and didn't really edit it," he explained. "I also think when things seem contrived, you can tell when someone has been sitting with their people and crafting it so it's political and all that, but I had initially taken it out, that's the one thing I had taken out and Susan said, 'you can't take that out,' and I said. 'why?' she said, 'that's a cool thing to say.'"

Downey said his "producer" told him to do it. He said good wives make good producers.

"Of everything," he said, "you know, she's been producing for the past 8 ½ months, this little daughter of ours."

While it might be the best time in his life and career right now, he said, "it certainly feels like it, but ya know, I'll make space for things to get even better."