Robert Downey Jr., who is synonymous with the MCU’s ‘Iron Man’, was not always going to play the billionaire philanthropist and was in talks to play a whole different character.
“I remember you had all met with (Downey) already for like Doctor Doom or something on another project,” director Jon Favreau said in a conversation with Marvel boss Kevin Feige, reports Deadline.
“I think he had come through on maybe Fantastic Four, so everybody sort of knew who he was.”
Favreau and Feige sat down for a retrospective look at the film that started the MCU 15 years ago.
Victor Von Doom was ultimately portrayed by Nip/Tuck star Julian McMahon in the 2005 film. For Favreau, casting Downey in Iron Man was the component that was missing that made the film work.
“He was the puzzle piece that made it all work,” Favreau said. “I remember sitting down with the guy, and I was like, ‘He’s got that spark in him in his eye and he’s ready’. That’s when we were in your office, and we were pointing to his headshot, saying, ‘We got to try to figure this out’.”
Favreau continued: “Once it was him, that’s when my life got a lot easier because he understood. He understood the voice of the character. And then one by one, people were just signing on board because now it became something interesting.”
Feige noted that the “tone that you and Robert discovered on that movie, I would say became the template in a way for much of what the MCU became”.
“I remember on later movies — we’ll talk about them on the 15th anniversary of those — there were dark days. And I would say to Robert, ‘We wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for you’. Meaning, we wouldn’t have a studio if it wasn’t for him,” Feige added.