Joe Russo Says Robert Downey Jr. Is ‘Nothing Like Tony Stark’

Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark have been intimately connected for over a decade. Downey, alongside the far-reaching Avengers fanbase, may have bid farewell to the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” in Avengers: Endgame; however, the actor will always be remembered for his turn as the MCU’s “crown jewel,” to quote Chris Evans. Robert Downey Jr. is often credited as the perfect Tony Stark, for he seems to embody the character’s persona and mannerisms in interviews and appearances. However, Avengers director Joe Russo argues that the two couldn’t be any more different. 

Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr. and Joe Russo MCU
MCU actors Ruffalo, Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., director Joe Russo, and actor Zoe Saldana | Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney

During an interview with the Times of India, Joe Russo sat down to discuss he and his brother’s accomplishments, what it’s like working with such a talented group of actors, and the future of superhero filmmaking. He also revealed who Downey becomes once you reach his inside circle.

Joe Russo explains why Robert Downey Jr. is so different from Tony Stark 

While discussing Avengers: Endgame with Joe Russo, the interviewer from the Times of India said, “Tony Stark feels like RDJ’s alter ego, Chris Hemsworth exudes Thor’s confidence in his physical strength… it’s amazing how these characters seem like they are based on the actors that play them.” Joe Russo, agreeing with the apparent parallels between actor and character, chimed in with a similar sentiment, yet noted Downey’s drastic divergence from Stark. Russo stated:

It’s interchangeable, isn’t it? You want the actors to have an emotional connect with the characters they play. When you really get to know Robert, you discover that he is nothing like Tony Stark. He has a public persona that he slips into, which is like Tony but when you have an intimate conversation with him, you realise he is very different. He is warm, genuine and generous human being. 

Times of India 

It appears that years of watching Robert Downey Jr. embody Stark off the screen may have been part of a greater plan — an RDJ bit. We’re not to here to argue that Downey is an ingenuine human being. Rather, his seamless manifestation of a disposition akin to Stark – yet divergent enough to feel unique — paints the extent of his talent. Yet, it also goes to show how committed he was to the role and the public’s perception of his “fit” for the character. 

By “slipping into” the Stark persona, as Joe Russo explains, he was able to be the Tony Stark-infused version of himself that fans wanted to believe existed. Robert Downey Jr’s off-screen performance only helped further turn this movie into the global phenomenon it is today while transforming the actor into one of cinema’s most celebrated superheroes to date. 

Now that Avengers: Endgame has come and gone, it will be interesting to witness Downey during interviews, press junkets, and various other public appearances. Will his outward personality shift to align with someone more true to self, or will he endlessly play an offshoot of the most current role he decides to try on for size?