The minute I found out that Robert Downey Jr. was slated to play Tony Stark/Iron Man I was thrilled. In my opinion there just wasn’t a better person, physically and feature wise, to play this character. RDJ further solidified my reaction with his performance and portrayal on screen of billionaire Tony Stark (home run is an understatement).
Now RDJ is inching closer to the character he plays on screen by becoming Hollywood’s highest paid actor earning $75 million between June ’13 and June ’14.
RDJ has been in many films in the past and he started his career in theater and eventually got into Hollywood. You might remember him from Weird Science. He was making a decent living in the 80’s and was even loosely involved with the “Brat Pack”.
It was in 1996 that RDJ hit some hard times. He was arrested several times between ’96 and ’01 for possession and use of heroin, cocaine and marijuana. He continued acting but seemingly his career was all but over, mostly due to his heavy drug use. I remember watching his very public downfall and thinking that we’d never see him in a leading role, he was just a mess. He was even booted off of Ally McBeal even though his character helped breathe new life into the show.
In April 2001, while he was on parole, a Los Angeles police officer found him wandering barefoot in Culver City, just outside Los Angeles. He was arrested for suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, but was released a few hours later, even though tests showed he had cocaine in his system. After this last arrest, producer David E. Kelley and other Ally McBeal executives ordered last-minute rewrites and reshoots and dismissed Downey from the show, despite the fact that Downey’s character had resuscitated Ally McBeal’s ratings.
Despite all the problems RDJ has had, he finally turned things around in 2001 getting help and cleaning up. He went on to get some jobs and claw his way back into Hollywood’s good graces and to me Iron Man was his pivotal turn around. Tony Stark was tailor made for RDJ, or RDJ was tailor made to play Tony Stark (however you want to look at it). Both men have their demons they struggle with and both are charismatic, liked and hated at the same time. Jon Favreau made a great choice when he cast RDJ in Iron Man and I’m glad to see RDJ’s direction turning towards the better. Now bring on the next Iron Man and Avengers movies please!