James Spader has the new Avengers film to thank for his renewed friendship with Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr. after losing touch with his Less Than Zero co-star years ago.

The Sex, Lies & Videotape star admits Downey, Jr. was among his closest friends when they were working together in the 1980s, and the Chaplin actor was so fond of Spader he and his then-girlfriend Sarah Jessica Parker named their cat, Jimmy, after him.

But their lives "drifted apart" and Spader reveals he hadn't spoken to his old friend in years when he was offered the role of villain Ultron in the new Avengers film, Age of Ultron.

He tells Playboy, "We spoke to each other just before I left for London to film Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it was like we were right back where we'd left it (friendship).

"It has been a tremendous pleasure and absolute delight to be reunited with Robert on this film."