“Why is this jelly belly playing a superhero?”: Robert Downey Jr. Confessed His Biggest Insecurity Before Playing Iron Man in MCU

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Robert Downey Jr. is an MCU fan-favorite and always has been, courtesy of his impeccable portrayal of Tony Stark. It’s like he was made for the role. But no matter how effortlessly he plays the character, there was a time when the actor had been quite apprehensive with regard to how Iron Man might be received by the audience and how well he would fit in the character’s shoes.

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.

Sure, Iron Man is like a smug, billionaire superhero who’s always two steps ahead of everyone in the game, but when the camera isn’t on, even Iron Man is human and has his own set of insecurities to deal with.

Related: “They should erect a shrine in my honour”: After Iron Man Surprisingly Generated $585 Million, Robert Downey Jr Unapologetically Believed He Was Carrying MCU on His Back


Robert Downey Jr. on Depicting Iron Man in the MCU

Robert Downey Jr.‘s first ever film as the MCU superhero was Jon Favreau’s Iron Man which was released back in 2008. But before he kickstarted his Marvel career, the American actor and producer were quite insecure about his depiction of Tony Stark.

“I just wanna look good enough so that people don’t say, ‘Why is jelly belly playing a superhero?'”

Downey Jr. admitted that unlike most of the other Marvel superheroes, Iron Man didn’t exactly have a traumatic past or any other such elements that would otherwise accentuate him and make him stand out, because he’s merely an ordinary guy “in an extraordinary situation.”

Related: “Superhero movies are over”: Iron Man Star Jon Favreau Was Ready For the Worst Case Scenario After Shooting First Marvel Movie With Robert Downey

Robert Downey Jr FandomWire
Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man

“He wasn’t bit by something or traumatized by a flying rodent…that he is just a guy. He’s like us, except he’s in an extraordinary situation and he has to use his innovation and his understanding of technology, really to save his own bu*t, so. I think that it’s…while I can relate to something that’s really fantastic like The Matrix or whatever, because it speaks to mythology, the truth is that technology and mythology of a character like Iron Man is actually pretty close in hand. So I think, that just brings a real, interesting realism to it.” 

And yet, more than a decade later, Downey Jr.’s genius scientist in his powered armor suit still continues to be one of the most admired superheroes by fans and critics alike, even after the character’s tragic demise on screen in the Russo brother’s Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Robert Downey Jr. Felt the Timing Was Right for Him to Play Iron Man

The Zodiac star had been 42 years old when he played Iron Man for the first time in 2008, and according to Downey Jr., the timing couldn’t have been better. He explained how if he would’ve approached that particular character in his ’20s or early ’30s, he wouldn’t have been as mature as he was in his ’40s.

Related: “Stan Lee is forgetting who I am”: Robert Downey Jr Got the Biggest Compliment of His Life for Playing Iron Man After This Emotional Moment With Stan Lee

Robert Downey Jr. in and as Iron Man (2008).
Robert Downey Jr. in and as Iron Man (2008).

“Yeah, I’m just so glad that it hadn’t been done and done well already, you know? And there’s a certain destiny to it. 10 years ago, 20 years ago, obviously, I would’ve been too young, or not quite ready or seasoned enough to do it, but I think it’s age-appropriate for me to be playing this guy this time. And also, you know, I wouldn’t wanna launch into some big butch season of doing, perhaps, several of these, unless I felt that I was still mildly youthful and I could get in good enough shape or represent the character well. So, the timing is just great.”

And after consistently portraying Tony Stark for as long as 14 years, Downey Jr. has left a vividly significant on the entire Marvel fandom with Iron Man’s legacy shining gloriously for all time to come.

Source: YouTube

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Written by Khushi Shah

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With a prolific knowledge of everything pop culture and a strong penchant for writing, Khushi has penned over 700 articles during her time as an author at FandomWire.
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