“‘Iron Man’ was very much that: the story of Joseph, a little bit. The guy who redeems himself, who was an unsavory character, who was wound into in his own ego. The thing is, really— the stroke of brilliance was Downey.
It’s not just that it was him, but that it was him at that moment, having paid his dues, and having a spiritual redemption, literally with his time. He’s somebody who’s been through this twelve-step sobriety, embraced it, came out the other end of the tunnel glowing, and that was when I met him. There was a radiance to him. And nobody ever questioned his talent. I knew that if I could get him, that every decision for the movie would be obvious. There was a path, he was the guide. If I had him, I understood how I’m going to make every choice from there.
That was my biggest contribution— the knight-fight to get him to star. And once he starred, most of the work was done.”
— Jon Favreau, on casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, December 17, 2012 (x).