Despite the odds, Marvel Studios has arguably gambled on a lot of unknowns and come out on top. They’ve taken lesser-known properties like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man to great box office heights, but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says their biggest risk was casting Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man from the start.
In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Kevin Feige discussed the MCU’s risks, claiming that casting Robert Downey Jr. in 2008’s Iron Man was the biggest risk. It may seem strange to say now that Robert Downey Jr. is arguably one of the biggest movie stars working today, but the actor had a lot to prove to show he was ready to take on something like Iron Man after a well-publicized battle with drugs. Feige had the following to say:
“I was lucky enough to be involved in early Spider-Man films and X-Men films but we wanted to do an Iron Man movie. And I do think, still, the biggest risk — which seems outrageous to say now — was casting Robert Downey Jr. It was both the biggest risk and the most important thing in the founding of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without Robert, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. I really believe that.”
Aside from Downey Jr.’s history, there was also the fact that he had never done a film like Iron Man before. Because he hadn’t really headlined a big tentpole release of that scale at that point in his career, it’s probably best to call him a character actor. No one doubted his acting abilities, but Feige credits Jon Favreau’s foresight in fighting for him to get the part:
“He was an amazing actor. Everybody knew he was an amazing actor but he hadn’t been an action star. He wasn’t a marquee star, necessarily. And we quickly realized the risk, I’ve said this before, was not casting him. And Jon Favreau really had that vision for that movie and for Robert in that role. That decision, and the success of that decision, I think empowered us with further risks and further choices.”
It’s difficult to imagine anyone else in the role of Tony Stark. Robery Downey Jr. perfectly embodied the role and made it his own. I honestly believe that the success they had with casting him led to Marvel making several casting decisions that, while risky on paper, turned out to be successful in the end.
Do YOU think it was risky to cast Robery Downey Jr. in Iron Man?