Robert Downey Jr is one of the wealthiest stars in the world thanks to his portrayal of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. But before he became the big name he is today, did you know he could have been part of several films, but ultimately someone else was cast in the role?
While he lost parts due to his substance abuse and arrests, RDJ was even said no to certain films that he said he didn’t regret. So scroll down and take a look at the different films the Avenger star could have essayed before landing the life-changing role in the MCU.
From Basic Instinct 2 and America’s Sweethearts to Wild Things and Pretty In Pink, take a look at the makers of the film that originally wanted Robert Downey Jr to star in.
PRETTY IN PINK (1986)
Howard Deutch’s 1986 teen comedy Pretty in Pink would have starred RDJ, had the lead actress, Molly Ringwald, had her way. As revealed in the casting documentary ‘Richies and Zoids’, Molly was keen on getting the makers to cast the Avengers actor as Duckie before the role went to Cryer.
In the book ‘You Couldn’t Ignore More if You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation’, she said, “If they remade the movie now, [Duckie] would be, like, the gay friend who comes out at the end. … I feel bad saying that I really fought for Robert Downey Jr, because it sort of seems like I don’t appreciate Jon’s performance, which I totally do—it’s just, it really did affect the movie.” In fact, Jon Cryer – who finally played the role – addressed Ringwald’s comments in the DVD’ Pretty in Pink: Everything’s Duckie Edition’. In it, he had said, “Molly dropped the bomb that she would’ve been fine with the original ending if Robert Downey Jr, had played Duckie … But since it was me, she just couldn’t see it. It was like, wow, so I’m that unattractive? Thanks, Mol!”
SAY ANYTHING… (1989)
Cameron Crowe, the writer and director of Say Anything…, wanted to cast Robert Downey Jr as Lloyd Dobler in his 1989 classic romance. The film finally featured John Cusack as Lloyd, and him holding a boom box over his head and blasting “In Your Eyes” is one of the most iconic moments of its era.
During an interview on the Howard Stern Show in 2016, Robert Downey Jr revealed that he turned down the role of Lloyd in Say Anything. When asked if he rejected saying no to it, the Iron Man star said, “I didn’t feel sad; I felt it was trite. But it turned out to be a good movie.” Cusack made Dobler come to life on the silver screen, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone else play the role as he did.
Ron Howard’s 1991 action thriller Backdraft starred an ensemble cast including Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and many more. But did you know RDJ was considered to play Brian McCaffrey in it? Well, the role was finally essayed by William Baldwin.
Besides Robert Downey Jr, the role was also offered to other now-big Hollywood stars, including Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves. You can check out the Iron Man star’s audition for the same here:
WILD THINGS (1998)
While during the start of his career RDJ was losing roles due to not being apt for the character or not having a good bond with the directors, this was a period he was being shown the door owing to his behaviour. The actor was initially cast as Sam Lombardo but lost the role due to his substance abuse to Matt Dillon.
In a past conversation with Entertainment Weekly, director John McNaughton opened up about replacing Robert Downey Jr. He said, “It was during his rehab, and he’d just been on Diane Sawyer’s show, and to the people in Hollywood, that was a great career move. That made him hot.” But producer Rodney Liber added that the movie’s insurance bonders weren’t in favour of covering the Sherlock Holmes’ star.
AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS (2001)
Robert Downey Jr was cast as Eddie Thomas in America’s Sweethearts but his arrest in November owing to drug charges made him lose the gig. As per reports, despite his earlier arrests, the makers of the 2001 rom-com were still keen on casting him but had to finally replace him as they weren’t sure about his availability to film and his fitness after that.
The role of Eddie Thomas eventually went to John Cusack.
MELINDA AND MELINDA (2004)
In a past conversation, Woody Allen revealed he wanted to cast Winona Ryder and RDJ as Melinda Robicheaux and Hobie, respectively. But due to insurance not willing to cover them, the makers were forced to replace them, and Radha Mitchell and Will Ferrell came on board.
Talking about the Dolittle actor’s casting, in ‘Conversations with Woody Allen’, the film’s writer-director said, “We were originally going to work with Winona Ryder and Robert Downey Jr and I couldn’t get insurance on them.” Allen continued, “The insurance companies are very prissy and sticky and gave us a hard time. We were heartbroken because I had worked with Winona before [on Celebrity] and I thought she was perfect for this … And I had always wanted to work with Bob Downey and always thought he was a huge talent.”
BASIC INSTINCT 2 (2006)
Nearly ten years later after Basic Instinct (1992) hit screens, Sharon Stone was set to star in the sequel. Robert Downey Jr was approached to play the lead role of Dr Michael Glass in it. But owing to the mounting public problems damaging his career in 2001 (due to substance abuse and arrest), he declined it.
David Morrissey eventually landed the role of Dr Glass – a psychiatrist appointed to evaluate Stone’s character. The film, which finally released in 2006, turned out to be a dud at the box office and won four Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress for Stone.
Would you have like to see Robert Downey Jr in any of the above-mentioned roles? Let us know in the comments below.