Christopher NolanDowney Jr. casting in Iron Man one of the best decisions in movie history –

Although he spent more time with Batman than Iron Man, director Christopher Nolan praised the move to make Downey Jr. cast in the title role.

Downy Iron Man

Although he had a small role in 2008, he starred in Zodiac, A dark scanner and, uh, The shaggy dog, Robert Downey Jr. was anything but a box office draw. So it was a big risk for Jon Favreau to even consider Robert Downey Jr. to be cast in the movie that would launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man. It paid off, of course, and the casting has been cited as a major reason for the MCU’s success. Now it’s someone who has no ties to Iron Man but Batman who has praised the move.

Speak on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Christopher Nolan praised director Jon Favreau for taking the risk to kill Robert Downey Jr. to be cast as Iron Man, aka Tony Stark. “I thought when [Jon] Favreau had the insight to cast him as Iron Man… It’s one of the biggest casting decisions in movie history. 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 Downey had. And then the charisma of the movie star, that great charisma, comes into play.” However, Nolan also noted that the star had to tone down that charisma to play Lewis Strauss – a key opponent of J. Robert Oppenheimer – and join Downey Jr. “lose yourself in this real human being.”

Of Iron Man headlined by Robert Downey Jr., the film would become the second highest-grossing film of 2008 behind only Nolan’s The dark knight, something of a miracle given the actor’s reputation at the time and that many didn’t think Iron Man had the appeal of one of the larger Marvel properties. Yet it clearly did, setting the wheels in motion for the highest-grossing franchise in movie history. As Marvel president Kevin Feige put it: “I still think the biggest risk — which now seems outrageous to say — is the casting of Robert Downey Jr. used to be. It was both the biggest risk and the most important in the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without Robert we wouldn’t be sitting here today. I really believe that.” Downey Jr. would play the character multiple times, including in his own trilogy and the four Avengers movies. One wonders if things would have turned out this way if Timothy Olyphant had gotten the part…

What is your favorite performance of Robert Downey Jr. like Iron Man? Let us know below!

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