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“We were literally watching the puppies be born”: Robert Downey Jr. Admits His Co-Stars From Iron Man Movie Were Frustrated With Script

Robert Downey Jr. Admits His Co-Stars From Iron Man Movie Were Frustrated With Script

Robert Downey Jr. annoyed his Iron Man co-stars like how Tony annoyed Happy — by running off-script. Usually considered a massive blunder and headache for the management, the godfather of MCU avoided scrutiny due to Marvel’s essentially non-celebratory status back in 2008 with only a few commercial hits here and there in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

When Kevin Feige tasked Jon Favreau (an already established director back in the day for his innovative and whip-smart projects) with bringing Marvel’s Iron Man to the big screens, the director accompanied by his lead began on a journey that was more improv than was originally intended. They both soon realized that the script needed to be thrown out the window and RDJ began building his world with each take marred by innumerable changes and edits.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau as Tony Stark and Happy Hogan
Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau as Tony Stark and Happy Hogan

Also read: Marvel Resurrects Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man From the Dead in I Am Iron Man 5 Part Limited Series on Tony Stark’s 60th Anniversary

Marvel and DC Comics Assume Control of Hollywood

2008 was the year when the CBM industry would don a new face and overnight the world became obsessed with the frenzy surrounding armored superheroes and caped crusaders in live-action cinema. With Jon Favreau‘s Iron Man and Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins both stealing the spotlight on behalf of Marvel and DC, the two comic book franchises gained a new level of super-stardom among mainstream cinemagoers that was earlier only assigned to geeks and comic book lovers.

Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah Stane in Iron Man (2008)
Jeff Bridges and Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man (2008)

Also read: “What if I Really Was as Confident as Tony Stark?”: Robert Downey Jr. Reveals the Secrets Behind Him Getting the Iron Man Role After a Nerve Wrecking Screen Test

However, whereas Nolan’s trilogy was a standalone project commissioned by DC, the RDJ-helmed Iron Man was supposed to be the genesis of an expansive vision that would later be revealed by Kevin Feige’s vast Marvel Cinematic Universe. To think how it all rested on the shoulders of a reformed addict and a young, up-and-coming director is frightening. And even scarier is the tale of how the two managed to bring Iron Man alive, thus igniting the spark to a legacy that would have cosmic repercussions at the box office a decade down the line.

Robert Downey Jr. Recalls How Iron Man Came To Fruition

In an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Robert Downey Jr. essentially recounts how the days on the sets of Marvel Studios’ Iron Man came to be. His recollection is not flattering, instead speaks to a highly disorganized and mismanaged crew and cast who had a right to be frustrated with the work ethics displayed by the director and his lead actor.

“I really like when you have a loose concept of what you’re doing and there’s certain parts that aren’t going to change much and the rest you discover. So, the first Iron Man — I mean, Jon and I and the writers, we were just… we would [say], ‘You write a line, I’ll write a line…’ We were literally watching the puppies be born as we did it. [It was] frustrating for people.”

Jon Favreau and RDJ on the Iron Man set
Jon Favreau and RDJ on the Iron Man set

Also read: “This legacy is going in the right direction”: Robert Downey Jr. FaceTimed Dominique Thorne to Encourage Her For Ironheart, Believes She Will Do Justice to Iron Man’s Legacy

Robert Downey Jr. then shifts the perspective of the narrative as something that was done to serve the higher good. At the same time, the actor knew that it was extremely “self-indulgent to come in and hand out new pages and say, ‘Oh I’m not saying that.'” Perhaps it was the sheer brilliance of the people associated with Iron Man that made it a success, but it could also have been due to the resilience of the cast and the producers who had an incredible future at stake and so much to lose if that future was taken away because of their own lack of effort.

Either way, Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. — both saved each other and gave the genesis kick to the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is accorded now with so much respect that it overshadows the chaotic toxicity that plagued the Iron Man sets.

Iron Man is available for streaming on Disney+.

Source: The Joe Rogan Experience #1411 

Written by Diya Majumdar

At 25, Diya Majumdar is inching closer to getting to the bottom of every film and television's history in existence. Having graduated with honors in literature from Miranda House, DU, her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema, with more than 900 published articles on Fandomwire. She is a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh and boasts of being an avid painter of all their troubled works.