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When Marvel Was Scared To Hire Robert Downey Jr As Iron Man But Jon Favreau Said, “This Could Be Like Casting Johnny Depp in Pirates”

Robert Downey Jr As Iron Man
Jon Favreau On Robert Downey Jr As Iron Man. (Photo Credit – IMDb)

Robert Downey Jr turns 59 today! RDJ has entertained the audience for three decades or more with incredible stories, characters and performances. After working in Hollywood for many years, Robert won his first Oscar Award this year for his performance in Christopher Nolan’s 2023 film, Oppenheimer. However, one character that fans will never stop associating him with is Iron Man.

In 2008, Marvel released Iron Man, and it forever changed the fate of the studio and also Robert Downey Jr! Due to his drug addiction, the Tropic Thunder actor was often arrested between 1996 to 2001. Hence, RDJ didn’t really have a great reputation in Hollywood. However, director Jon Favreau’s faith in him and Robert’s charismatic screen presence and impeccable performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man changed everything.

But did you know that when Jon Favreau initially approached Marvel Studios to hire Robert Downey Jr for Iron Man, there were concerns? In 2009, in an interview with Super Hero Hype web portal, the Iron Man director was asked how RDJ’s footage at San Diego convinced everyone that he was the perfect Tony Stark. Jon was asked why he didn’t shoot that and showed it to the studio. The Chef director revealed, “Well, ultimately that’s what we did, because what happened was they didn’t like the idea of Robert–they were scared of him, they told me ‘no, I couldn’t hire him’ and it felt like too big of a risk.”

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the Iron Man Trailer

Jon Favreau added, “They wanted me to go with somebody younger and somebody with less of a reputation, and I was like, “This could be like casting Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates.’ This could define the movie and bring it out of obscurity and out of this sort of ‘second-rate Spider-Man’ status that it’s in,” We had a lot of people anxious about it and against it, and the board was concerned and against, and then we put [Robert] on film and from the minute he opened his mouth everybody who saw the screen test was convinced, and everybody was behind him, and we never looked back.”

After Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr played Tony Stark and the superhero in nine Marvel movies – Iron Man 2 and 3, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Meanwhile, the Academy Award winner is all set to amaze his fans in a new series, The Sympathizer. The war comedy also stars Hoa Xuande, Sandra Oh, and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen. Created by Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar, the series will release on HBO on April 14, 2024.

The Sympathizer Trailer

We wish the actor a very Happy Birthday and can’t wait to see him “marvel” us more with his phenomenal performances in future.

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