Robert Downey Jr. Recalls ‘Indie Approach’ to the First Iron Man

Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. remembers how Marvel allowed him and director Jon Favreau to let loose on the first installment in 2008.

While sitting down on The Hollywood Reporter‘s Actor Roundtable, Downey Jr. was asked if he had any hesitation when Marvel Studios contacted him about playing Tony Stark. “No, because anyone who knows [Iron Man director] Jon Favreau — I remember seeing Swingers, and that monologue he has, and I was like, “And he wrote this? Who is this guy?” Also, he went to Bronx Science, and he was doing the Improv in Chicago, and we’re both from Queens? We were meant to do this thing,” Downey Jr. said.

“Also, there was no real certainty that this was even going to take off. Iron Man was a second-tier hero. They let the lunatics run the asylum for a little while, so it was completely an indie approach to a genre movie to begin with.”

As Marvel’s first production as an independent studio, Iron Man was widely perceived as a gamble. The casting of Downey Jr. in the title role was met with skepticism due to his troubled history with substance abuse and run-ins with the law. Additionally, the movie went into production without a completed script, resulting in Favreau encouraging the cast to improvise dialogue for natural performances on camera. The gamble ultimately paid off when Iron Man hit cinemas with universal acclaim and a worldwide gross of $585 million.

Will Robert Downey Jr. return as Iron Man?

From his introduction in Iron Man to his heroic sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame, Downey Jr. single-handedly popularized Tony Stark on the big screen. As rumors have surfaced about potentially resurrecting Stark and other fallen Avengers characters for future MCU projects, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has made clear that Stark’s sacrifice will not be undone.

“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige said. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”

All 10 MCU films featuring Iron Man are available to stream on Disney+.

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