Essays on the Films of Robert Downey Jr. [UPDATE] Proposals due May 15

full name / name of organization: 
Erin E. MacDonald
contact email: 

Essay Collection on the Films of Robert Downey Jr. UPDATE

I have received multiple successful proposals for a collection of essays on the films of Robert Downey Jr. to be published in 2013 or early 2014 by McFarland but am still in need of TWO additional essays, in order to ensure a breadth of representations of the films.

I am soliciting proposals/statements of interest (300-500 words) for previously unpublished essays (15-30 pages) on the following films ONLY:

- The Soloist
- Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
- or a combination of films including Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, such as: Downey as Detective: The Singing Detective and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (and possibly Sherlock Holmes 1 and 2) OR Shane Black as director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Iron Man 3
- or a combination of films including The Soloist such as Downey as Journalist in Natural Born Killers, Zodiac, Good Night and Good Luck and The Soloist

These should be serious academic studies but with a standard formal English (not too theoretical or jargony) tone. Writers may take any angle for which they have expertise (film, theatre/performance, cultural studies, queer studies, pop culture, etc.). Downey should be a main but not necessarily the sole focus of the essay.

Named Hollywood's most valuable star in 2012, Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe winner Robert Downey Jr. has appeared in over 75 films, documentaries, and TV shows since his first role as a five-year-old in 1970. He is one of few actors to have consistently won high praise from critics and fans alike, for his intense, naturalistic performances. His roles in movies such as Less Than Zero (1987), Chaplin (1992), Iron Man (2008), and Sherlock Holmes (2009) have intersected with three decades of our culture's preoccupations with youth, self-destruction, the detective figure, race, and sexuality. Working with directors from Fincher, Toback and Attenborough to Favreau, Ritchie, and Black, Downey has played gay characters, a superhero, and even a black man.

Tracing the progression of Downey's career through an in-depth analysis of his most important films allows us to measure the pulse of contemporary pop culture because he acts as a barometer of the zeitgeist by playing some of the world's most iconic, larger-than-life characters (Chaplin, Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes). He has brought widespread popularity to works and genres that diversely aged and educated audiences might not otherwise have taken an interest in, simply through his trademark wit, irreverence, realism, and charm. Perhaps no other actor today has as much combined visibility, versatility, respectability, and licence to court controversy as he.

Abstracts/proposals should be e-mailed to and copied to by May 15, 2013. If your proposal is accepted, completed essays in MLA documentation style will be due to me by July 15, 2013.

Please include with your proposal a brief biography of yourself (2-3 sentences) highlighting your area of academic expertise and any related publications, and/or a c.v..

Send proposals and/or queries to:
Erin E. MacDonald, Ph.D.
Professor, Fanshawe College
London, ON Canada
and copy to