Robert Downey Jr. Wasn’t The Highest Paid Actor In Iron Man


Robert Downey Jr. may be one of the highest paid actors in the world right now, but that wasn’t always the case. Back when he first starred as the eponymous superhero of Iron Man in 2008, the Academy Award nominee was struggling to restart a promising career in Hollywood that’d been derailed by substance abuse. Despite being the protagonist of the early Marvel film, the troubled superstar wasn’t the most expensive talent on set.

Neither were Oscar winners Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow. Rather, that distinction actually belongs to Terrance Howard. Weird, right? It may seem crazy over a decade later, but at the time it clearly made a great deal of sense to those in charge.

Jon Favreau was taking a chance on casting Downey Jr. as the lead. His bosses wanted a more dependable face to front the flick, but the director was insistent. He knew his choice would be perfect for the role. Downey Jr. was in no position to pass up such an opportunity, either, and thus took less money than he probably deserved in order to play the part.

Howard, on the other hand, was already an established performer. He’d been in several hit films and was becoming a household name. Those involved with Iron Man were sure they wanted him in the movie and he was thus the very first actor cast. By the time everything else started falling in to place, it was reportedly too late to renegotiate Howard’s lucrative deal.

This wouldn’t be that big of an issue if he wasn’t such a pain to work with. Favreau and several other producers were allegedly disgruntled with Howard’s behavior and performance, which ultimately led to much of his screen time being redone in post-production.

When it was time for the sequel to be made, those at the top felt that the actor’s salary deserved to be decreased. They came to his camp with an offer that paled in comparison to what he made from the original and with that, the two sides parted ways and James “Rhodey” Rhodes was recast with Don Cheadle. Understandably, the spurned performer wasn’t happy with how everything played out and subsequently blamed the film’s star for what happened.

In the end though, everything appeared to work out for both sides. The Iron Man sequels were all extremely successful and Howard landed a gig fronting the hit TV show Empire. It’s unlikely there’ll ever be another scenario in which he makes more than Downey Jr. again, but Hollywood is a weird place. I mean, just eleven years ago, producers were likely saying the exact opposite as they eagerly brought on Howard and lamented the casting of RDJ.

Source: Cinema Blend

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