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How Robert Downey Jr. Changed And Improved Tony And Peter’s Gut-Wrenching Infinity War Scene

Robert Downey Jr

Tom Holland has become an instant favorite in the Marvel Cinematic Universe among fans. And a major reason why is because of the young actor’s chemistry with Robert Downey Jr., playing mentor to Peter Parker in both Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. The Iron Man and Spidey kinship helps explain why audiences were so devastated by Peter’s death in Avengers: Infinity War, turning “I don’t feel so good” into a Marvel meme.

But as it turns out, there were helpful emotional suggestions made to that scene by Robert Downey Jr. himself that the Russo Brothers believe nailed the significance of the moment and cemented Peter and Tony as spiritual touchstones in the MCU.

During a recent interview with Joe and Anthony Russo on CinemaBlend’s own ReelBlend podcast, the duo looked back on Avengers: Infinity War and the daring choices they made that had to be addressed in Endgame. When we circled around to Peter Parker’s dusting scene – an iconic MCU moment, by this point – Joe Russo elaborated on how that scene came together, and how Downey helped them get to where they needed to be. He said:

We had done a take or two… where it plays quicker than all of the other ones. We thought, ‘This has to be climactic.’ He's got spider sense, so he could feel it coming before it actually gets him. And we thought, wouldn't it be interesting too if your own emotional or spiritual core could hold [the dusting] off for a second or two longer than someone else. Because this is a magical event. It's nothing that's based on anything in the physical universe.We just started talking to Tom and Downey. Downey is always extremely helpful in blocking. And we started saying, ‘This isn't having the emotional impact it needs to have. Tom, what if, you know, you’re a kid. This is scaring the shit out of you. What if this is something that you don't want to have happen. You can't, you know, you're scared. You don't want to go. So what would happen?’ And then he started improvising. ‘I don't want to go!’ And Downey, I think, he helped with the blocking of [Holland] falling into Robert and Robert laying him down on the ground. Frankly, it took about five or 10 minutes to shift. And in the next take, we went out and they nailed it and that was it. Everybody was crying on the set.

What’s that? You want to be devastated by this sorrow? Well, OK. Here’s that scene, in case you haven’t watched it 1,000,000 times before.

During the press run up to Avengers: Infinity War, the brothers were not able to discuss specifics, so as to protect spoilers. And they are in a similar situation with Avengers: Endgame. Yes the movie is out and dominating at the box office. But they are trying to protect the big reveals from the new movie as much as possible, which is why we used some small portion of our time with them to go back over the best parts of Infinity War.

Here is the first half of our conversation with Joe and Anthony Russo, as part of the ReelBlend podcast:

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Not that you need to be told this, but Avengers: Endgame is in theaters as we speak. Come back to CinemaBlend next Monday, when we will post the second half of our conversation with the Russos, which is filled with MCU and Endgame spoiler talk. It’s worth the wait.

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.