Robert Downey Jr. recently gave a lengthy and revealing interview with Empire Online in which the man who made Iron Man cool again talks — among many, many fascinating things — about meeting Paul Bettany’s Vision for the first time in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the role he’ll get to play in Captain America: Civil War.
The actor was very open, sharing details about genius billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark’s role and possible motivation in the third Captain America flick and the reasons why he decided to come on board the movie, and discussing the android formerly known as J.A.R.V.I.S.' introduction in Age of Ultron ... which, by the way, sounds as epic as an introduction to a beloved Avengers character should be.
But before we go on and talk about Captain America: Civil War, here’s how Downey described Tony’s relationship with the Vision and how we’ll get introduced to the character in Age of Ultron:
[Jon] Favreau was visiting the set and went, ‘JARVIS, what did they fuckin’ do to you?’ I would maybe see Bettany on the street or at a premiere party, maybe. And the suit? Everybody has to pay their pound of flesh. I remember on Iron Man 2 when Cheadle came out in the Mark II, it’s the least comfortable suit, by their own admission, designed for any movie and he came out and stopped the party. I looked at him and it was right before lunch and he’d been in it for three hours. I thought, ‘Poor Don’, but you gotta do it. And for Bettany, they did a number on him with this absolutely awesome Ultron look, and it also reminded me of the times when I’ve been in special effects make-up. The very first thing he had to do was perch on the end of a precipitous ledge and stand up at the right time with the wind blowing and look right down the barrel, and 20 other things were happening, and it was like, ‘Yep, welcome’. But when - and I won’t give much of anything away - Vision gets to express and enter and find his place in earnest respect on the playing field, it was like an exceptionally well-executed, poetic, badass, “Aha!” moment for all of us. Joss was very particular about that in a different way than he was with Jimmy. I think people are going to get a kick out of the creative decisions about how Vision fits in.
But let’s talk about another upcoming little Marvel film we’re totally dying to see: the third Captain America movie. When he was asked why he’d signed on for more Marvel flicks — starting with Civil War — following his initial deal to star in two more Avengers movies, here’s what RDJ said:
I’m crazy about Evans. I really am. I don’t know why or how to explain this particular kinship we have. By the way, he hasn’t called me in six months. Honestly, in order for this whole thing to have worked, I did my part, Hemsworth knocked it out of the stadium and then it fell on Cap. That was the riskiest. It was the one that had the highest degree of difficulty in making it translate to a modern audience. It was the Russos and Chris who, I think, really hit the line drive and won the series. I remember glancing through it going, “Wow, that’s a different way to go”. They said, “If we have you, we can do this or Cap 3 has to be something else”. It’s nice to feel needed.
At this point it ceases about being about announcements of contracts and deal points and Forbes and all that. And to see Chadwick being announced for Black Panther, I go, ‘Wow, man, Marvel is making all the right moves and they’re not doing it because it’s PC, they’re doing it because it’s exciting’. So why would I be the one to go, ‘I’m not going on the road. I don’t get along with the keyboardist’. Who cares? Who cares? And look, I also recognise that I’ll be turning 50 by the time I promote this movie. The clock is ticking down on the amount of memories and participation that I would allow myself and not embarrass the medium with. And when they pitched it to me and when I had a couple of ideas and when they said we like those ideas, let’s do those. Then there’s all this competition too. I don’t do this because I look at it as a competition, but I look at the marketplace and go, ‘Maybe if these two franchises teamed up and I can take even a lesser position in support, with people I like and directors I respect, maybe we can keep things bumping along here a little longer than they might have.’
He also talked about the role Tony will have to play, and whether he’ll be the main antagonist for the MCU-shaking sequel:
Yeah. Again, it’s natural to change your views. The main thing to me is, and this is where I think the Russos are quite brilliant and where Kevin backed the play, is what sort of incident could occur and what sort of framework could we find Tony in? The clues are in Ultron about where we might find him next. But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for, quote-unquote, because he was the right-wing guy who could still do his own thing. When the first Iron Man came out the liberals and conservatives were both like, ‘You’re our guy’. Yes! Score! But the idea of Tony being able to march into Washington and say, ‘I’ll sign up’, wouldn’t have made sense if the political climate in the real world hadn’t shifted the way it has. It’s a little bit of things following a real world continuum in, ‘What would you do?’ There’s always the bigger overarching question, that Joss brings up all the time - it’s kind of weird that these guys would have all these throw downs all over planet Earth and it looked like a little collateral damage happened over there, and yet when the movie’s over, it’s like nobody minds. You have to figure, ‘Were you to ask the question, what would the American government do if this were real? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Tony doing something you wouldn’t imagine?’
So, does he ultimately see Tony as being the bad guy in this movie? Here's what RDJ said, while reminding us that it's NOT Iron Man 4:
I wouldn’t put it that way. Ultimately it’s Steve’s story; it doesn’t say ‘Iron Man 4: Civil War’. I think that’s great too. I think Chris [Evans] has been hungry to bring even more of an underside and some shadow to that. I remember the comics - on the surface you got the sense that Cap was baseball and apple pie, but underneath there was all this churning stuff of being a man out of time. Now we know he’s made his peace with that. What’s the bigger issue? It can have a little something to do with the past, but it can be about someone becoming more modernised in their own conflict.
Are you guys intrigued by what Robert Downey Jr. has revealed about Vision’s introduction in Avengers: Age of Ultron? What do you think of Tony’s upcoming role in Captain America: Civil War?