Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man is a revered superhero today, but it wasn’t always like this.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a plethora of charismatic and unique superhero characters, but perhaps none of them is as loved as Robert Downey Jr‘s Iron Man. The actor kickstarted phase one of the MCU with the first ‘Iron Man’ movie in 2008, and the rest is history!
- Robert Downey Jr.’s struggle with alcohol and drug abuse
- Why Marvel rejected Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man
- Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man has appeared in 11 movies
‘Iron Man’ convinced fans it was a role Robert Downey Jr. was born to play, but Marvel Studios didn’t share the belief. In fact, the studio was against casting the actor due to his past history with drugs and alcohol. Downey Jr. had plenty of talent, but his reputation made it a risk to hire him.
The MCU is one of the biggest and most profitable movie franchises in history, thanks to the standard set by its first few films. If ‘Iron Man’ (2008) wasn’t as successful as it had been, there’s no telling what path the MCU might have taken. Robert Downey Jr. has been credited with being an irreplaceable part of the franchise, but not everyone wanted to hire him in the first place. Keep reading to learn more about it!
Robert Downey Jr.’s struggle with alcohol and drug abuse
He is one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood today, and well-known for being a talented, successful star. Robert Downey Jr. is an Oscar-nominated actor, but he spent decades in and out of rehab and was arrested multiple times. He grew up surrounded by drugs, his father was affected by substance abuse which influenced him at an early age.
The actor’s struggle with drug and alcohol abuse led to a tarnished reputation, causing him to lose out on roles. He lost roles in ‘Wild Things’, ‘Melinda and Melinda’ and was also fired from ‘Ally McBeal’ following an arrest in 2001.
His downward spirals ended up with him serving time in prison, and he lost everything before he could face his addiction head-on. Ever since the actor has undergone a heroic recovery and rebuilt a life for himself. His triumph over addiction and struggle in unlearning years of bad habits proves he didn’t just play a superhero on screen. Jon Favreau, who directed ‘Iron Man’ and its sequel, knew Robert Downey Jr. was the right actor for the job and pushed the studio to hire him.
Why Marvel rejected Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man
In a Rolling Stone interview, director Jon Favreau admitted that Marvel Studios had flat out refused to hire the actor. As per Favreau, Marvel responded by saying that
“under no circumstances are we prepared to hire him for any price”.
The director had fought long and hard but realized there wasn’t any light at the end of the tunnel for him. He informed Downey of the decision, sharing “I fought, I tried, I did what I could, it’s a pity and a shame, but unfortunately, it’s going to stop here”.
“With your permission, I’m going to hold out hope”. It inspired Favreau to continue to persuade the studio, after which the actor was finally hired to lead the project.Downey’s immediate response was,
The revered director previously noted they didn’t want to go with a “safe choice” for the role of Iron Man. In 2007, he said, “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”. In another interview, he said, “The story of Iron Man was really the story of Robert’s career”.
Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man has appeared in 11 movies
Since joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his 2008 movie, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man has appeared in a total of 11 movies. The superhero’s final appearance was seen in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ where he sacrificed himself to bring an end to Thanos and his alien army.
‘Iron Man’ went on to gross 585 million dollars worldwide which was a massive feat back then. The actor was paid a humble $500,000 for his first role, but for his last, he was paid a fee of $20 million upfront. Downey also received $55 million as part of a deal that gave him 8 percent of the film’s profit, which brought his pay for ‘Avengers: Endgame‘ to a striking $75 million. Downey was the perfect choice for ‘Iron Man’ and he only proved it with his dedication and hard work!
Which is your favourite Marvel movie featuring Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man? Let us know in the comments!