From a talent perspective, Robert Downey Jr. was the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s undisputed top dog from the first day he set foot on the set of Iron Man, to his last scene in Avengers: Endgame.
Not only was he the star of the movie that launched the entire franchise, but he was also the MCU’s most popular actor, its highest-paid star, and the catalyst for the rest of the main ensemble being handed significant pay rises when contract renegotiations took place prior to Age of Ultron.
However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t averse to the odd spot of professional jealously, as revealed by Jeremy Renner to the Armchair Expert podcast. The longtime Hawkeye admitted that the first time RDJ and Chris Hemsworth worked together on The Avengers, the former joked that the latter was too good to be true.
“If you ever played any sports, it was like joining a new team. I knew Robert Downey Jr., I knew Scarlett Johansson, I just didn’t know Chris Hemsworth. He’s amazing, but we didn’t know, right? On the first day, we’re all waiting around in our costumes. It looks like it’s Halloween. We’re excited but equally feeling ridiculous. I feel like we all knew each other somehow, someway, except for this Hemsworth guy, because he comes from Australia. And he’s the tallest, the most good-looking… Downey was like, ‘We gotta break his knee. We gotta take him out. This guy’s too good-looking. He’s too tall, he’s too charming, f*ck this guy’.”
The first time the MCU’s Avengers were officially gathered was 2010’s San Diego Comic-Con, where the project was first announced to the world, so Downey would have had plenty of time to grow accustomed to sharing the screen with the tall, handsome, and impossibly jacked Hemsworth.
He was only kidding, of course, but it’s an understandable reaction to have when presented with such an impressive physical specimen.