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Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man was “greatest casting decision”

Robert Downey Jr. might’ve been in the acting scene since the 70s, but what really made his career was his role as Tony Stark in Iron Man. Not only was this what solidified the future of Marvel’s film, but without him, the Marvel Cinematic Universe may never have existed.

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan speaks with the Happy Sad Confused Podcast (via JoBlo) to praise Jon Favreau for taking the chance and dubs Downey’s casting as one of the “greatest casting decisions in movie history.”

Despite how it feels now, there were others that could’ve played the iconic role, including Clive Owens, who rejected the role, but it wasn’t like there wasn’t pushback by the higher-ups, who were worried about putting the future of the company’s cinematic division into the hands of a drug addict.

“I thought when [Jon] Favreau had the insight to cast him as Iron Man…It’s one of the greatest casting decisions in the history of movies. And you look at what that did and where that went with everything. And I think that was Jon just knowing what an incredible actor, what incredible potential it was from Downey. And then the movie star charisma, that wonderful charisma comes into play.”

The risk was the perfect example of high-risk-high-reward, with Downey packing the theaters as the iron-clad hero. It even became 2008’s second-highest-grossing movie. It was only behind a fellow superhero flick, that being Warner Bros. Pictures‘ The Dark Knight, which just so happened to be directed by Nolan and an insane success despite the rocky reputation the actor had.

Iron Man then set the stepping stones for future MCU films, leading to one of the most profitable and recognizable media franchises in cinematic history.

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