Jon Favreau Told Paul Bettany He Needed Somebody With ‘Absolutely No Personality’ When He Offered Him ‘Iron Man’ Role
Paul Bettany has become one of the more popular actors in the Marvel cinematic universe as of late. This is largely because he stars in Wandavision a new show that Marvel unveiled on Disney+ earlier this year.
Although Bettany he may be a new face to viewers who don’t follow Marvel closely, he’s been involved with several other Marvel films, including Iron Man, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Prior to joining the cast of Iron Man, Bettany was in dire straits and desperately needed acting work. Luckily for him, director Jon Favreau reached out to him and offered him a role, stating he needed an actor with “absolutely no personality.”
Jon Favreau offered Paul Bettany the J.A.R.V.I.S. role in ‘Iron Man’
Bettany recalled his first conversation with Favreau about Iron Man during a recent interview wit BBC Radio 1.
“Jon Favreau called me up, it was 2008 I believe,” Bettany said. “So the bottom has fallen out of the economy all over the world, and I’m wondering how I’m going to pay the mortgage.”
Favreau had a candid offer for Bettany, which he gladly accepted.
“And luckily, Jon Favreau rung me up and said, ‘Um, Paul, I’m looking for somebody that has absolutely no personality at all to play a robot in this,’” Bettany recalled. “I obviously, I went, ‘I’m in John, I’m in!” Bettany said. “And yeah, that’s exactly how he pitched it to me.”
His work in ‘Iron Man’ helped him land Vision role in ‘Wandavision’
After the success of Iron Man, Bettany was able to land roles in a few other Marvel films. Bettany personally believes his strong performance in Iron Man got him the role of Vision in the Avengers franchise and Wandavision.
“Well the truth of how I really ended up, I think, getting Vision is that everybody just loved me,” Bettany said.
The Iron Man production crew loved Bettany because his voice overs allowed them to fill in holes in the film’s exposition that they were struggling with.
“They loved me because after they’d shot the movie and something wasn’t making sense, and then they spent millions on CGI to make it make sense,” Bettany said. “If it still didn’t make sense they could just have me go, ‘Oh my God, the baddies are coming up on your left, sir!’ And it would be clear, and they go, ‘Oh my God, this guy’s a genius.”
Paul Bettany says putting on the costume for Vision has gotten easier
Bettany also noted in the interview that he used to have a hard time putting on the costume for Vision. Over time, the process has gotten simplified, which makes the job easier for him.
“It has gotten easier, it’s less claustrophobic,” he admitted.
Nowadays, the production crew handles his on-screen appearance with special effects instead of heavy makeup.
“It still starts under my eyebrows and goes all over the back, but my ears are free, I don’t want to have to wear the big cowl, they just make that in post,” Bettany said.
He has to tone down his performances when he’s wearing the Vision costume
Because his costume is so loud aesthetically, Bettany also noted that he often has to tone down his performance so he doesn’t overwhelm the audience.
“An awful lot is going on when you’re purple, you know what I mean? Bettany said. “You kinda gotta slightly back off the performance a little bit because you’re purple.”