No one can play Tony Stark other than Robert Downey Jr. Period.
The Oscar-nominated actor is an icon the world over for bringing the complicated, brilliant Marvel character to life in numerous superhero blockbusters.
With that said: Downey’s first crack at the billionaire playboy genius in his screen tests for the original Iron Man was somewhat insufferable and fairly dark.
Of course, that is not the way he played the character in the hit 2008 film, but since fans are clamoring to see Downey as Iron Man once more in the yet-to-be-released Avengers: Infinity War trailer, Heat Vision decided to help fill the time by looking back at the spark that became the Stark, courtesy of an Iron Man behind-the-scenes look.
A portion of Downey’s screen test for the Jon Favreau film was taken from the beginning of the movie when, after blowing off an award bestowed upon him at Caesars Palace, Stark hits on a reporter from Vanity Fair.
In the film, Downey plays Stark as cool and confident with a twinge of sass. His charisma appears to be what charms the reporter into going home with him. In the screen test, he comes off as an abrasive jerk and just plain slimy. That version of Stark is devoid of charm, which makes the character off-putting.
“You’re never going to get me in the sack with that attitude,” the early iteration of the character tells the reporter.
There is also another uncomfortable moment when testing a different scene. Stark threatens to use his new suit against the U.S. military if they try to stop him from going after bad guys on his own.
The moment is taken from the scene in the movie after Stark uses the completed suit for the first time in Afghanistan to save villagers and destroy caches of his company’s weapons which fell into enemy hands, after which Rhodey pays him a visit at his home.
“I disobeyed a direct order to keep them from blowing you out of the sky. Next time, I may not have that same result,” says the stand-in reading for Rhodey, later played in the first film by Terrence Howard.
Tony responds, “Maybe next time you scramble F-22s against me I just might not play defense.”
Stark’s entire relationship at that point, in the screen test, with the person who is his best bud is super tense and once again, off-putting. With the lines and Downy’s delivery, it is clear that iteration of the character was going full-on dark vigilante, as opposed to the team player akin to the final version of Stark.
Check out the tests below.