Who is Susan Downey?
Susan Nicole Levin, also known as Susan Downey, is an American film producer who is the co-founder of the production house ‘Team Downey’. Her actor husband Robert John Downey Jr. is the other co-founder of the company. Previously, she had served as the Executive Vice President of Production at Silver Pictures. She also held the post of Co-President at Dark Castle Entertainment. Despite being born into a family with no previous Hollywood links, Downey developed a deep interest in filmmaking as a child and went on to study at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. She then ventured into film production and established herself as a much respected producer within a few years. Before forming her own production house, Downey was part of the production of popular films like ‘Gothika’, ‘House of Wax’, ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, ‘RocknRolla’, and ‘Orphan’. After launching ‘Team Downey’, she has contributed to the production of movies, such as ‘Due Date’, ‘Iron Man 2’, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’, and ‘The Judge’.
In the late 1990s, Susan Downey accepted the position of the Executive Vice President of Production at producer Joel Silver’s production company, Silver Pictures. She also took charge of the production house’s dark film division, Dark Castle Entertainment. This division was set up by the parent company with the vision of remaking the dark films, mostly horror, of former director William Castle. Eventually, the production company started making originals as well. After Downey became the director of development at the company, she delivered some popular movies in the ensuing years.
Her first films for the production houses were the 2001 Canadian-American supernatural horror film ‘Thir13en Ghosts’ and the American action crime thriller film ‘Swordfish’. She later co-produced the American-Australian horror film ‘Ghost Ship’ and the Jet Li starrer American action film ‘Cradle 2 the Grave’ in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
Her debut as a producer came in 2003 when she produced the psychological horror thriller film, ‘Gothika’. The film was directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and featured Halle Berry as the lead actress in the character of a psychiatrist. The film grossed over $140 million on a $40 million production budget. Over the next few years, Downey produced films like the horror flick ‘House of Wax’; the neo-noir black comedy crime film, ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,’ which featured her husband Robert Downey Jr.; the psychological horror thriller, ‘The Reaping’; and the psychological horror film, ‘Orphan’.
Both Susan and Robert Downey Jr. had previously worked with the English filmmaker Guy Ritchie. When Ritchie decided to make a new Sherlock Holmes film based on the original novel, the couple approached him. Robert Downey Jr. played the lead character in the film while Susan Downey took charge of the production. The film, titled ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ was out in 2009. It was a major critical and commercial success. Robert Downey Jr. bagged the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
In the ensuing years, Susan Downey produced films like ‘The Book of Eli,’ which was a post-apocalyptic neo-Western action film featuring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, and Mila Kunis. The film was made on a budget of $80 million and grossed almost double the amount. Her next film as an executive producer was the comedy film ‘Due Date’, another film featuring her husband in the lead role alongside Zach Galifianakis.
Downey then produced the second film of the Marvel Comics superhero franchise, ‘Iron Man 2,’ featuring her husband Robert Downey Jr. as the lead character. In 2011, the couple came together again for Guy Ritchie’s second Sherlock Holmes film titled ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’. The film grossed $545 million at the box office on a budget of $125 million.
The couple set up their own production house named ‘Team Downey’ in 2010 and brought in David Gambino as the president of the company. It took them four years to launch their first film, titled ‘The Judge’, in 2014. The legal drama film featured Robert Downey Jr. as a successful defense attorney (‘Henry "Hank" Palmer’) and the son of a judge named ‘Joseph Palmer’ (played by Robert Duvall). The film received mixed reviews though the performances by the lead actors were much appreciated.
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Family & Personal Life
Susan Downey was born as Susan Levin in Schaumburg, Illinois, on November 6, 1973, to Rosie Levin and Elliott Levin. She attended Schaumburg High School and later graduated from the University Of Southern California School Of Cinematic Arts. She began her career in the show business with Threshold Entertainment.
Susan met Robert Downey Jr. during the making of the thriller film ‘Gothika’. The couple got married on August 27, 2005, and has two children together, a son named Exton Elias Downey, born in 2012, and a daughter named Avri Roel Downey, born in 2014.