Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and director Jon Favreau got together to chat about the first Iron Man movie, as it celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Released in 2008, the film became a surprise box office hit, and set the template for what would become the dominant filmmaking style in Hollywood.
The first Iron Man film also made Robert Downey Jr one of the biggest stars in the world, and established the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which would go on to become the highest-grossing film franchise in history. But Downey’s casting was famously not easy, and Marvel needed to be convinced to hire him. The actor was just recovering from a series of public brushes with the law.
Hiring Downey was ‘probably one of the greatest decisions in the history of Hollywood’, Feige said in the video, shared on the official Marvel channels. “I remember on later movies… I would say, 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 you.” Feige also recalled Downey’s dedication to making Iron Man a special movie, and not just a run-of-the-mill Hollywood entertainer. He remembered working with the actor at the end of every shoot day, and rewriting scenes. Downey, he said, ‘had a very [high] standard that he wanted to hit with, not wanting this to feel basic. He wanted it to be special.’
Favreau, who fought tooth and nail to get Downey hired for the role, said that his life ‘got easier’ after the actor was finalised. “I remember sitting down with [Robert] and I was like, he just got it and he’s got that spark in him and his eye and he’s ready,” Favreau recalled.
Downey went on to star in three solo Iron Man movies, four Avengers films, and one Captain America and one Spider-Man movie each. He will next be seen in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Favreau went on to spearhead the Star Wars show on Disney+, in addition to directing two massively successful films for the studio — The Jungle Book and The Lion King.
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