Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man

92751__ironman_lNo, really, it makes sense, casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. True, Downey isn’t tall or rugged or bankable, but neither was Tobey Maguire when Marvel cast him as Spider-Man. More important, Downey can act, which is going to be key when he’s stuck for long stretches behind that immobile mask. (Maybe he can get some pointers from Hugo Weaving, who pulled off a similar feat in V for Vendetta.) Besides, this is going to be a demon-haunted Tony Stark, guilt-ridden over his experience as an arms manufacturer, and Downey certainly knows from demon-haunted. (This first Iron Man movie, due in May 2008, won’t deal with the substance-abuse problem Stark suffered in the comic books, but if the sequels do — as Variety reports they may — well, again, who better than Downey to take that on?)

I’m more intrigued by why Downey would choose the role. Years ago, when he and Mel Gibson costarred in Air America (this was before either of them had jumped on the Crazy, Blotto Celebrity train), I asked Downey why he’d wanted to be in a project so clearly bound for action-movie mediocrity. He replied that he’d wanted to work with Gibson, then added, ”Be careful what you wish for.” I don’t think Downey has done anything as unabashedly commercial since then, except maybe Ally McBeal. Today, years after having cleaned himself up, Downey is still an astonishingly talented actor who could easily work for the rest of his life in quirky indie films, but his career in mainstream movies remains stalled, so he needs one big hit to put himself back on Hollywood’s map. No wonder he started working out and growing a Stark-like goatee in order to campaign for the Iron Man lead. I’m sold — how about you?

addCredit(“Robert Downey Jr: Jim Spellman/WireImage.com”)

Comments (21 total) Add your comment
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  • K

    RDJr.’s so great, I’d watch him play a walking ball of fur… oh, wait.

  • Ron

    Great casting as far as I’m concerned. RDJ can play this role in his sleep! Perfect! Excelsior!

  • jojo

    I never would have thought of RDJ in the role, but now visualizing it, he’s perfect… at least with Tony Stark living in a penthouse, RDJ won’t get confused between his bedroom and some random LA 13-yr. old’s room.

  • Aron

    Very good decision. Very good.

  • Suz

    I love everything RDJr does. He’s so talented. I wish people would focus on his talent rather than his past drug-fueled behavior.

  • Cliff

    This is the best casting of its kind. Ever.

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    I thought that Stark created the Iron suit because he had a near fatal accident and the suit was the only thing that could keep him alive?
    Downey in the role makes sense because Stark fought his demons and Downey faught his own too. Iron Man is one of Marvels darkest comics ever.

  • professor74

    Marvel has a history of good casting for their movies (Spiderman, X-Men). Its good to see they are still making good decisions.
    Yeah, so they blew FF and Daredevil (though Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin was awesome). Can’t be perfect.

  • Ep Sato

    I am very impressed with this casting. Tony Stark’s always been written as a playboy millionaire, but he could never get a handle on the lifestyle and it got the better of him. For about 50 issues, Tony Stark’s drinking problems got so bad that he had to lend out the Iron Man suit to his buddy James Rhodes (incidentally, James Rhodes was the SECOND black man to be “Iron Man”. the first was a boxer who wore the suit way back in Iron Man issue 21).
    Similarly, Robert Downey Junior’s life has had a lot of parralels. He’s been in a gadjillion movies, made great paydays for most of them, but too much partying and drug abuse landed him in jail. Much like Tony Stark, he had to step away from his job and take time to recover. The stories couldn’t be anymore parrallel and the casting couldn’t be any better.
    Now, who are they going to cast as James Rhodes? My money is on Sci fi/action great Chiwetel Ejiofor, but if they go big name it would be bad azz to see Wesley Snipes step into War Machine’s shoes.

  • matt

    Downey Jr. may not be the most bankable actor to play Iron Man, but he would do a terrific job. I like how Marvel is focusing more on the quality than star appeal. In my book, RDJ is a fine actor, and he is perfect for the role.

  • Tyler D

    Downey Jr. seems to be taking a page out of the Johnny Depp book on “how to have a successful career by being a talented actor known for having a quirky personality on-screen while making mainstream blockbusters.” Still, this casting decision works for me.

  • Robert

    As a Marvel fanboy for nearly 30 years now, I’m overjoyed at this casting. It’s perfect. I never thought of his name when they announced the movie, but it works perfectly. I’m still worried about Favreau’s directing, but this is a fantastic step in the right direction.

  • Beetle

    Ep Sato, you normally seem dialed in to this sort of thing; I’m a bit surprised you hadn’t heard that Terrence Howard is being courted to play Rhodey.
    Regardless of whether he takes the gig (and I hope he does), it’s interesting (and encouraging) that Favreau is approaching folks known for their acting chops more than their action chops.

  • tdneel

    Nothing commercial after “Air America,” you say? Do “Soapdish,” “U.S. Marshals” or “The Shaggy Dog” sound familiar? The big question is, will he grow a mustache for the role? And if so, will it be, ahem, downy?

  • Jakeem

    Downey’s an outstanding actor, but Timothy Dalton would have been a dead ringer for Tony Stark. And it’s too bad that Tom Cruise never signed on for the role.

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