I remember a few years back when there was the first serious word that an Iron Man movie was going to be made. I was intrigued, and though I never really followed the character much, I thought the idea had all the ingredients for good translation to the big screen.
It was announced earlier this year that Jon Favreau would be directing. He has proven to be a good director, at least to me, with Elf and Zathura. He hasn't directed an action film yet, but I have a feeling he will do a better job than Tim Story did with Fantastic Four, or I could just be hoping that he will. Whatever the case may be, I am looking forward to it.
With a director on board, the eye turns toward casting. Who would be up to the task of playing the former alcoholic genius superhero? Back in the early days of casting talks, there was a lot of talk about casting Tom Cruise. At first, I wasn't too keen on the idea. I may not be intimately familiar with the Iron Man title, but I knew that Cruise wouldn't be right for the role. First off, he does not have the right physical characteristics to play Tony Stark, and then there is the attitude to pull the role off. I thought about it some more, and slowly convinced myself that I would like to see him do it. His recent antics notwithstanding, I think that Cruise is underrated as an actor — not to say he is great — but he is good. In any case, that eventuality has not come to pass as it has been announced that Tony Stark has been cast.
Ain't it Cool News was the first to break the story that former substance abuser Robert Downey Jr. would play the former substance abuser/superhero Tony Stark. I admit, I found the news to be a little shocking. I honestly never thought about Downey as a superhero. Aside from Cruise there were names like Clive Owen, Viggo Mortensen, Gerard Butler, and Karl Urban, basically names of guys who have done action. Casting Downey is a bit of a risky choice, in my opinion. I look through his resume and I do not see any action films — comedy and drama, sure. The one thing he does do is bring a little star power to the role, and could help to draw in people that may otherwise skip over comic book movies.
After some thought, I have decided I like the casting, and look forward to what he will bring to the project. He has a lot in common with the character. He has struggled with substance abuse and has hopefully become a better man for it, plus he has turned in some very good acting performances. He will be playing a character who has struggled with alcohol abuse to come out the other end of the tunnel as a stronger person for it.
Now they can start focusing on the rest of the supporting cast and the villains. The only other casting notable I have seen as negotiations continue is Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes, Stark's best friend and confidante. He is also a man who has donned black and white versions of the Iron Man armor, then taken another name to become War Machine. Not sure I like the idea of Howard as Rhodes. I would picture someone bigger and more physically imposing. I think Michael Dorn or Henry Simmons would be good choices for the role.
The big question after everything is in place, is how good will it be? Will it be Spider-Man or will it be Elektra? Or perhaps somewhere in between? Time will tell, with the proposed date of May 2, 2008 being the date that it will be unleashed upon the world for final judgment.