Updated: August 21, 2021 9:37:49 am
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has revealed the biggest risk he took while building what later became known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was casting Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark or Iron Man. That is saying something. For contrary to belief that MCU movies run on an established formula, the writers and directors have taken several creative risks over its 13 year history.
While speaking to Cinemablend, Feige said, “I was lucky enough to be involved in early Spider-Man films and X-Men films. But we wanted to do an Iron Man movie. And I do think, still, the biggest risk — which seems outrageous to say now — was casting Robert Downey Jr. It was both the biggest risk and the most important thing in the founding of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without Robert, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. I really believe that.”
It is easy to forget now when Downey Jr is one of the biggest actors in the world that he was not popular at the time. Not because of lack of talent, but rather because of his history with drugs and alcohol.
Director of the first two Iron Man movies Jon Favreau revealed in a Rolling Stone interview that Marvel flat out refused to hire Robert Downey Jr. Marvel’s response was that “under no circumstances are we prepared to hire him for any price.” he had even called Robert Downey Jr and said this is unlikely to happen. “I fought, I tried, I did what I could, it’s a pity and a shame, but unfortunately it’s going to stop here,” Favreau told the actor. Downey, however, had persisted, “With your permission, I’m going to hold out hope.”
In an interview with 100.3 Jack FM, Favreau had called Downey Jr the best actor for the role. “We didn’t want to just go with a safe choice. The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic-book character who is having trouble in high school, or can’t get the girl. Plus, he’s simply one of the best actors around.”
Eventually, Marvel Studios gave in and Robert Downey Jr was Iron Man. He so completely went to subsume himself into the role that people struggle to understand where Tony Stark ends and Downey Jr begins.
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