According to director Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr was almost cast in a completely different Marvel character before taking on his most famous role as Iron Man.
To mark the first 15th anniversary Iron Man launching the MCU’s phase one in 2008, Favreau sat down with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to discuss how Downey came to play Iron Man, aka Tony Stark.
“It really wasn’t until we picked Robert that we knew what to do, and once we picked Robert, the decision became a lot easier,” he explains.
“I think it was probably one of the greatest decisions in Hollywood history,” Feige said of casting Downey.
During the chat, shared on Marvel’s official YouTube channel, Favreau recalled how Downey originally auditioned for the role of Doctor Doom in Tim Story’s 2005 film. Great quartet. The final part went to Australian actor Julian McMahon, with the project receiving mixed reviews.
“I think he passed as if maybe great quartet, so most people knew who he was,” Favreau recalls. He said he eventually brought Downey in after seeing “that shine in him”.
“Once I was him, that was when my life became a lot easier because he understood the voice of the character,” he said. “And then one by one, people just signed up because now it’s become something interesting.”
“From that first test… he knew this was his shot and it was going to work,” Feige agreed.
Iron Man, also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Favreau, Jeff Bridges and Paul Bettany (in the voiceover role), which has grossed over $585 million (£473.8 million) at the global box office.
Since then, Downey has reprized his Iron Man role in two sequels, along with four Avengers movies, captain america: civil war, and opposite Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Back home.
Feige said in conversation with Favreau that Marvel “wouldn’t even have a studio” without Downey, joking that he once blamed him for “the mess we’re in.”