The course of comic book movie history was forever changed with Marvel Studios' first motion picture Iron Man in 2008. Marvel took a B-list character and an actor that was considered a major risk and created a cinematic superhero that launched the wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now Iron Man is the core of a massive universe and Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. It all had to start somewhere, and with a decade passing since that hugely important film, it is cool to look back on how Earth's best defender got started. Check out Robert Downey Jr.'s original Iron Man screen test in the video below:
It is really cool to see how Robert Downey Jr.'s version of this character, who has had such a dramatic arc in the films, got started. This screen test paved the way for so much more for Tony Stark, and the MCU as a whole. This screen test took place in September 2006, a little over a year and a half from the film's release in May of 2008 ,and you can tell how much of a difference that time made in Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of the character.
The first part of the screen test shows the conversation that Tony Stark has with reporter Christine Everhart. And in addition to some of the dialogue being different, the tone is also quite a contrast to the one in the finished film. The conversation is serious in subject in both cases, but as The Hollywood Reporter notes, here Robert Downey Jr. is a bit darker and creepier. Robert Downey Jr. doesn't come off as charming in the screen test, so the conversation feels less like banter and more genuinely confrontational. For comparison, check out this scene from the film below:
Tony Stark is basically a jerk, but he has just enough charm and wit for you to like him. And finding that balance is the key to making the character work. What is evident in this screen test is that Robert Downey Jr. has those qualities, even though he comes off a bit less endearing in the screen test than he ultimately did in the film. One can definitely see his wit in the second part of the screen test, in a scene where he's talking with soldiers. It's easy to see what director John Favreau saw in him, and how he shaped Robert Downey Jr.'s performance from the screen test into the Tony Stark and Iron Man that we know and love.
Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark looks to bounce back after taking a major loss when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019. Keep an eye on our guide for all the latest going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and check out the release schedule for all the biggest movies still heading to theaters this year.