Few actors have had a single tenure with one franchise as lucrative or as prolific as Robert Downey Jr. did as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And because of that stint, the Avengers franchise has cemented his status as a bonafide superstar and made him one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood — and for good reason, as his talent and charisma leaped off of the screen in all of his appearances as Tony Stark. Anthony and Joe Russo have had the opportunity of directing Downey for three separate films, including his ultimate sendoff in Avengers: Endgame.
Joe Russo recently appeared at an event for Talks at Google, revealing the extent of Downey's talent and how committed he is to the characters he plays.
"We love all different processes, and I think that's part of what's fun is having so many great actors on these film is that they all bring a different process to it. And it keeps it exciting as a director because every day someone else is showing up," Russo explained, adding that Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans are very technical in their approach, sometimes only requiring one take.
"Downey will never say the same line twice. He's got a really unique process where he has an earwig in and he has an assistant who has been working with him for years. And what we'll do is like a Sunday before we shoot his scenes for the week. We'll get in a room with him and the writers and pitch out alternate lines because he wants to keep it alive every take. So then he'll do a take scripted and then his assistant will feed him the alts, he'll do the scene again with the alts, his assistant will feed him the next round of alts, we'll the scene again with another round of alts."
Russo added, "And what's great is that after four takes, we can look at everything he's done and we can pick and choose and rebuild it, and then he'll do it one more time with everything that seemed to work the best. That's a very different process than, say, Scarlett's process. It's exciting to work with such a range of talent."
Few actors have embodied their characters much like Downey has become Tony Stark, with the only major comparisons in the superhero genre being Christopher Reeve as Superman and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It's interesting to hear how his process has affected the movies throughout his tenure.
Avengers: Endgame is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.