Why Marvel Didn't Want to Cast Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of charismatic, lovable characters. From Chris Evans’s portrayal of the admirable Captain America, to Chris Pratt’s goofy Star-Lord, the actors behind our favorite superheroes all bring a unique style to their roles. But the most beloved of them all may be Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, whose 2008 film kicked off the MCU Phase One.

Though Iron Man made it seem as if Tony Stark was the role Downey was born to play, Marvel actively rooted against casting him. Years of bad publicity and multiple arrests related to drug and alcohol abuse and excessive partying made the Oscar-nominated actor a risk for the studio. (Downey lost roles in Wild Things and Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda due to insurance issues, and was fired from Ally McBeal following a 2001 arrest.) But Jon Favreau, who directed Iron Man and Iron Man 2, knew that Downey was the right actor for the job.

Though the studio rejected the idea of casting Downey several times, Favreau shared that, "It was my job as a director to show that it was the best choice creatively ... and now the Marvel Universe is the biggest franchise in film history."

"Everybody knew he was talented,” Favreau continued. “Certainly by studying the Iron Man role and developing that script I realized that the character seemed to line up with Robert in all the good and bad ways. And the story of Iron Man was really the story of Robert’s career."

In 2009, Downey earned his second Oscar nomination for Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder. In 2012, he was paid $50 million to appear in The Avengers and is currently the third highest-paid actor in the world.

Stranger Things Fans Can Now Buy a 6-Foot-Tall Demogorgon Sprinkler

BigMouth Inc., Amazon
BigMouth Inc., Amazon

Some fans watch a show and then talk about it. Others create art inspired by it. Others develop far-out theories. But sometimes, fans go even further than that—like when pool accessory company BigMouth Inc. revealed its massive Stranger Things-inspired, inflatable Demogorgon sprinkler, which is now available for any fan to purchase.

The sprinkler, the perfect gift for those wishing to combine their love of sci-fi monstrosities and thorough lawn irrigation, stands 6 feet tall and can be connected to any standard hose, allowing it to spurt water from its horrifying open face, according to House Beautiful. And for fans thinking it can only be found in the far corners of the internet, fear not: the sprinkler is available now at Target and on Amazon.

If you want a less flashy way to show off your Stranger Things fandom this summer, BigMouth Inc. also sells a plethora of other novelty items based on the show, like an Upside Down-themed pool tube, Scoops Ahoy floating cupholders, and a float based on one of Eleven’s trademark waffles. (See all the options on Amazon here.)

This marks the latest in a series of collaborations for the hugely successful Netflix series. Prior to its release, Stranger Things teamed with both H&M and Nike to release clothing and shoes inspired by the series. It also collaborated with Coca-Cola to produce a limited edition collection of New Coke cans inspired by a moment in the third season.

We’re glad there’s a plethora of Stranger Things merchandise available, even the terrifying Demogorgon sprinkler—it sounds just ridiculous enough to buy right away. It's available at Target or Amazon for $100.

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Three Major Game of Thrones Stars Submitted Themselves for Emmys After HBO Chose Not To

Gwendoline Christie and Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones.
Gwendoline Christie and Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones.
Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO

HBO dominated the 2019 Emmy nominations, which were announced earlier this week, with a record-breaking 32 nominations for Game of Thrones's highly contentious final season alone.

Ten of Game of Thrones's nominations came via the acting categories, several of which were hardly surprising: Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke landed nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama Series, respectively. Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams will compete against each other in the Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress categories. What did come as a surprise, however, were the first-time nominations for Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, and Carice van Houten—not because they didn’t deserve them, but because HBO didn't submit them for consideration.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO confirmed that the network did not enter the three actors for consideration by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This means that the actors’ representatives shelled out the $225 entry fees themselves.

While this might seem unfair, self-submissions are a pretty common practice. As Game of Thrones has many, many characters, all of them played by great actors, it's simply not possible for the network to enter every one of them. As it stands now, four of the six nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actress are Game of Thrones co-stars (van Houten was nominated in the Guest Actress category), while three of the Outstanding Supporting Actor nominees are from Westeros.

Whether they made it onto the official ballot because of HBO or not, Game of Thrones fans are ecstatic that Allen, Christie, and van Houten are finally getting the Emmy recognition they deserve. Can one of them triumph? We'll just have to wait until September 22 to find out.

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