John Stamos Calls Robert Downey Jr. 'A Genius,' But Explains Why He Had To Come At Iron Man A Different Way

John Stamos is Uncle Jesse on Fuller House.
(Image credit: Netflix)

When it comes to playing superheroes these days, it's often the case that actors find themselves with big shoes to fill. Any performer who ever takes on the role of Iron Man again, for example, will be judged by the standard of what Robert Downey Jr. did during his run in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is an experience that John Stamos can speak to personally, as he voices Tony Stark on the animated hit Spidey And His Amazing Friends, and he recently called the star a "genius" as he discussed finding his own take on the beloved character.

John Stamos, who had a fun clash at Disneyland a few weeks ago with shellhead, has a recurring role as Tony Stark/Iron Man on the second season of Spidey And His Amazing Friends, and he recently spoke with TV Line about his approach to the role. He explained that he is not personally what one might call a comic book geek, but when he got the offer to be on the show he put in the work to understand the character and put his own stamp on the part beyond what Robert Downey Jr. was able to do from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame. Said Stamos,

I never got it, but my wife watches every single one of ’em. And then when they said they wanted me to do this, I had to do this deep dive on it. Robert Downey Jr.’s a genius. But I went even further and I have a lot of geeky friends that love all the Marvel things. So I talked to all them. I wanted to find, obviously, my take on him.

Continuing, John Stamos added that while he instantly said yes to the part, finding his voice as Iron Man for Spidey And His Amazing Friends wasn't something that came together as quickly. He had to hone in on the character's perspective to get the right tone and intonation. In particular he focused on Tony Stark's role as a mentor to Spider-Man, which was material he seemingly enjoyed because of his personal connection to it: 

I try to do some stuff that I thought was kind of Tony Stark-ish. It took a few minutes to find the character. But he’s a mentor to Spidey. And I think that role I can slip right into pretty easily. I had so many. Now I’m finding —I’m gonna be 59 pretty soon — it’s all like paying it forward.

John Stamos name-dropped a few of his mentors over the course of his career, including legends Jack Klugman, Garry Marshall, and Don Rickles, but he made special mention of his father, whom he said passed away at the age of 64. The actor explained that one of the reasons why he didn't need to look to Marvel or DC comics for superheroes as a kid was because that was a role his paternal figure played for him. Said Stamos,

I just never got into superheroes for some reason. My dad was my superhero. That was good enough for me. And he was always my superhero. You know how sometimes a parent, as you get older, you go, 'Oh, they’re just a human being like I am?' My dad was always the coolest guy that ever walked in any room. He was always bigger than life to me. So he was my superhero.

Airing on Disney Junior, Spidey And His Amazing Friends just began its second season earlier this month and will be premiering its third episode, titled "Lights Out/Sandman Won't Share!" on Friday. And while it doesn't feature John Stamos as Iron Man, you could be enjoying Season 1 of the show right now with a Disney+ subscription (not to mention all of the MCU movies streaming).

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.