Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr Recalls the Original Suit Blinding Him

Twelve years almost seems like a lifetime ago for Robert Downey Jr, who endured a career renaissance around the time he was cast as Tony Stark in 2008's Iron Man. The actor opened up about his experience first playing the role on the Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman for its upcoming third season. Downey recalled before Disney bought Marvel, production attempted to be as resourceful as possible relying more on practical effects than CG gave their more limited budget.

Robert Downey Jr. at the premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, USA on April 23, 2018. (Image: Tinseltown/Shutterstock.com)
Robert Downey Jr. at the premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, USA on April 23, 2018. (Image: Tinseltown/Shutterstock.com)

"Initially, everything was really there," Downey tells Letterman (via Entertainment Weekly). "They wanted to spend as little as they could on CG replacement, so I remember this helmet went on, and there'd be a shot, and I'd be in this whole suit, and they'd say: 'All right, Robert, it's like you landed on the roof, so when we say action, just go like that, like you just landed, and then start moving forward.' So I put this helmet on, and it slammed closed, and I couldn't see anything, and then these LED lights went on and it was like The Manchurian Candidate… I was absolutely blinded."

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in Iron Man (2008). Image courtesy of Marvel Studios
Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in Iron Man (2008). Image courtesy of Marvel Studios

Appearing as Stark in nine more films and $22 billion later in total gross from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the actor came a long way and donning the Iron Man suit is a dramatically different experience when he donned it the final time (for now) in Avengers: Endgame (2019). "By the time we were doing the last Avengers, they'd just be like, 'Hey, Robert, would you mind putting on—' 'Helmet?! No! Yes, no. Put two dots here, and then you can paint it in later,'" he recalled. The third season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction hosted by David Letterman premieres on October 21 featuring various interviews like Kim Kardashian West, Dave Chappelle, and Lizzo. You can check out the Downey interview below.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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