Nobody involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to have a bad word to say about Robert Downey Jr., who wasn’t just the face of the entire franchise for more than a decade, but also acted as the locker room leader of the Avengers and secured significant pay rises for many of his co-stars when the cast were renegotiating their contracts for Age of Ultron. He also assumed the role of Tom Holland’s offscreen mentor in a case of life imitating art, after the bond between Tony Stark and Peter Parker was established in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Of course, RDJ hasn’t always been regarded as a shining beacon of light, and went through some highly-publicized personal troubles two decades ago that resulted in numerous arrests and stints in rehab. The actor eventually put his demons behind him and ascended to the top of the Hollywood A-list following the success of Iron Man, but in a recent interview, filmmaker Gary J. Tunnicliffe claimed that he hasn’t always been the easiest person to work with.
While lending weight to the rumors that Robert Pattinson is proving to be a handful on the set of The Batman, Tunnicliffe indicated that Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t all sunshine and roses during his time as part of the MCU, either.
“I mean, look, there’s a very nice kind of cleanup job on RDJ right now, and everyone seems to think that Robert Downey Jr.’s the most lovable fluffy bunny rabbit on the planet, yet I know stories from Iron Man where Robert Downey Jr. was not an easy person to work with and can be quite difficult, but he clearly knows that he’s the face of the franchise and he’s treated in a very different way to a lot of the other actors and knows the power he has, and I think the filmmakers involved clearly know it so he has to be respected. He’s the elephant in the room if you like, he knows where the power is.”
Of course, Tunnicliffe operates at the complete opposite end of the Hollywood spectrum from Kevin Feige and his team, so his comments should rightly be taken with a pinch of salt. That being said, there’s an awful lot of pressure that comes with being the focal point of the world’s biggest franchise, and history has shown that it’s not something everyone can handle.