“I think he is fantastic if you give him freedom to improvise”: Robert Downey Jr. Refused Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity Because of Claustrophobic, CGI Heavy Filming Conditions Despite Playing Iron Man For Over 10 Years

Robert Downey Jr. Refused Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity Because of Claustrophobic, CGI Heavy Filming Conditions Despite Playing Iron Man For Over 10 Years
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It’s been almost a decade since Alfonso Cuarón released the superhit science fiction thriller, Gravity. While the film had Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in the lead, it’s no secret that Cuaron wanted to work with Robert Downey Jr. in the science fiction. However, Downey Jr. had something else on his mind. In his interview on The Howard Stern Show, the Hollywood star candidly discussed a number of reasons why he decided to bail on Gravity

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.

The actor, popularly known for playing Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, one of the biggest Hollywood stars, found the demands of the films more troublesome than they were worth. Although the actor may not regret losing, what could have been another prominent role for him, his fans are left wondering what it would have been like to see him as Lieutenant Matt Kowalski.

Read More: “200 million dollars, you think they would have a script”: Iron Man Actor Jeff Bridges is Still Clueless About One of the Biggest Mysteries From Robert Downey Jr.’s First Marvel Movie


Robert Downey Jr. Explains Why He Refused to Star in Gravity

Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 film became one of the biggest commercial and critical hits soon after it was released. Although the filmmaker wanted to work with Robert Downey Jr. on his 2013 science fiction, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney went on to take the lead in the film. The Judge actor discussed the reasons he left Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 film during his interview on The Howard Stern Show.

Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019).

As the show’s host mentioned that the Sherlock Holmes star was the first choice, he said, “Everyone ends up doing what they are supposed to do.” He shared that he was involved too early in the development process, and the rest of the cast was probably not even attached to the film at that time.

Read More: “Nobody else on Earth had a chance”: Robert Downey Jr Feels He Was Too Good to Lose the Iron Man Role to Tom Cruise or Nicolas Cage


Downey Jr. then explained how he went to do a test on the multi-spherical camera. However, around 20 minutes later the Due Date star asked, “This is crazy. How much longer?” The answer he received was something he did not expect.

The answer was, ‘It’s like another two to four hours.” But Downey Jr. was not comfortable with the whole situation and called it off as he said, “No, it isn’t!” 

Robert Downey Jr.
Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr.

“I went to do a test with a new sort of multi-spherical camera thing they were [using] for how they were going to do all the CGI. And I’m one of those guys who can be comfortably uncomfortable pretty easily, and maybe I was just on my cycle or something, but I went in the morning to do that, and we did it for about twenty minutes, and I said, ‘This is crazy. How much longer?’ And they said, ‘It’s like another two to four hours,’ and I said, ‘No, it isn’t!'”

Although Robert Downey Jr. is no stranger to CGI, he was not comfortable doing the things he was required to do for Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 film.


Read More: “I accepted the fact that things had gotten out of control”: Robert Downey Jr. Reveals Heartbreaking Addiction Nightmare With His Father Before Becoming World’s Highest Paid Actor As Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. Was Not Comfortable Working With the Advance Technology

Director Alfonso Cuarón also talked about why he was unable to work with his initial cast in Gravity. The director revealed that Angelina Jolie dropped out due to her busy schedule, and the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang star was just not comfortable working with the technology they used in the film.

During an hai interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cuarón explained that technology was a big obstacle to Robert Downey Jr’s performance. “I think Robert is fantastic if you give him the freedom to completely breathe and improvise and change stuff. (But) we tried one of these technologies, and it was not compatible,”  Alfonso Cuarón said.

Alfonso Cuarón on the set of Gravity
Alfonso Cuarón on the set of Gravity (2013)

After this, they talked about it, and the Dolittle star decided not to continue as it was too tough for him. Although the production of the film ended up becoming a challenge for everyone involved with the film, the film lived up to the hard work. 

Along with its commercial and critical success, it also bagged several awards. Gravity had ten nominations at the Academy Awards and won seven of them, including Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. It also won six BAFTA Awards, seven Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Director. 

Gravity is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. 


Source: The Howard Stern Show


Written by Laxmi Rajput

Articles Published: 2367

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.