“What if I have an accident?”: Robert Downey Jr Was Baffled With Mel Gibson’s Gift After He Fought to Cast RDJ in His Movie

Mel Gibson took a chance on Downey Jr. by casting him in The Singing Detective

"What if I have an accident?": Robert Downey Jr Was Baffled With Mel Gibson's Gift After He Fought to Cast RDJ in His Movie


  • Robert Downey Jr's career in the film industry has had its ups and downs due to personal struggles, but his portrayal of Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe solidified his status as a beloved actor.
  • After leaving the franchise, Downey Jr. has continued to gain respect and has been cast in Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer and other highly anticipated projects.
  • Jon Favreau's decision to cast Downey Jr. in the Marvel project was a leap of faith that changed his life.
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Robert Downey Jr’s name is one of the most well-known names in the film industry. Though the initial years of his career were rocky because of the battles that he had to face in his personal life, he managed to establish himself as one of the most beloved actors to this date through his work as Tony Stark, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since he departed from this franchise, he has only managed to increase his respect, star in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, and have several highly anticipated projects. It is easy to say that none of this could have happened if the actor and people around him didn’t believe in him.

Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man

Jon Favreau’s leap of faith in casting Downey in the Marvel project completely changed his life. The filmmaker, however, wasn’t the only one to take a chance on him, as controversial actor, Mel Gibson, also did something similar in their 2003 film, The Singing Detective.

Also Read: We Can Blame Robert Downey Jr. for One Hero’s Death in Infinity War – Marvel’s Russian Roulette Was a ‘Gut Punch’ for Tony Stark


Mel Gibson Took A Chance On Robert Downey Jr

Robert Downey Jr.’s past is one that many who loved the actor are aware of. With his history of substance abuse, having been brought up and surrounded by drugs, being arrested several times because of drug charges, as well as having gone to multiple rehabs and gone through many relapses, his journey has not been an easy one. These arrests took place between 1996 and 2001. After coming back from this, his first role on the big screen was in the musical, The Singing Detective, starring many big names like Mel Gibson, Katie Holmes, Adrien Brody, and Carla Gugino.

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in a still from Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in a still from Iron Man 3

“Mel Gibson cast me in The Singing Detective (2003), even though an insurance company wouldn’t cover it because it was my first film after my release from behind bars”

On top of playing the role of Dr. Gibbon, Gibson was also a producer on this project. The choice of casting Downey was one that he took at great cost. According to IMDb, Gibson paid an insurance bond for Downey for him to return to the big screen. The reason for this was the fact that it was his first film after being released from behind bars. Due to this, insurance companies refused to cover it, causing Gibson to do what he did.

Also Read: Tony Stark Almost Didn’t Die in Endgame, Robert Downey Jr Was Against the Idea: What Changed?


Mel Gibson Almost Sabotaged The Project

Despite this, Mel Gibson ended up gifting Robert Downey Jr quite an odd gift that had the Marvel actor extremely confused and questioning his judgment. Gibson ended up gifting Downey a motorcycle two weeks before production ended for this film. Upon receiving this gift, Downey asked the Braveheart actor if he had the intention of ruining this film. The reason for this was the fact that Downey was playing the central character in this movie. Had he gotten into an accident, because of this motorcycle, two weeks before production finished, the film would have been in a lot of trouble.

Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr as Special Agent John Royce in U.S. Marshals

“The best part was when Mel gave me a motorcycle while we still had two weeks left to shoot. I go,”‘Are you trying to ruin this movie? What if I have an accident?” He goes, “No, no. I figure if you made it two-thirds of the way through, you can’t do anything wrong.””

The reason for this would be the fact that since there was no insurance company covering the film itself because of Downey and his recent release from prison, an accident or an injury would cost the film a lot. When the Marvel actor said exactly this to Gibson, he was told that since he managed to make it through the majority of the project, the Braveheart actor had trust in Downey that he would make it through the rest of it.

Also Read: “Loki & Iron Man”: Season 2 Finale Convinces Fans Tom Hiddleston’s Sacrifice Was Better Than Robert Downey Jr.’s Endgame Death


Written by Ananya Godboley

Articles Published: 1306

A poet and art enthusiast, Ananya Godboley is a striving academic who is pursuing a career in Criminal Psychology, currently doing an undergrad degree in Psychology. Passionate about History, Philosophy and Literature, she loves to learn about new and interesting subjects. A writer for FandomWire with over 1000 published articles, she adores all things superhero and Taylor Swift.