UPDATED!! Both trades have in fact confirmed this story, and Jon Favreau himself confirmed it on his MySpace page a few hours after the story broke here. Good to see the rumor proved out.
Just got off the phone with Harry. It seems that the spies are out in force this year at Fantastic Fest, and one guy in particular sidled up to Knowles to tell him that there’s a lead actor now for IRON MAN. THE FOUNTAIN was about to start. Harry was about to go up onstage to do the intro. Then the guy told Harry what he told him, and Harry decided to call me before he started the proceedings.
“Is your guy that sure, Harry?” I asked.
“I hear there will be a trade break tomorrow,” Harry said. He told me a few other things the spy said off-the-record, and it certainly sounds like this guy’s the real deal. “Now I have to go because 250 people are staring at me wondering what I’m talking on my phone about.”
Brace yourselves for what happens when someone makes the right choice for once.
Tony Stark will be played by Robert Downey, Jr.
I can’t even express how much I love that choice. First of all, congratulations to Paramount and Marvel for having the nerve to pin their franchise on Downey. He’s had some rough years, but if I’ve ever seen anyone aggressively work to rehab their career, it’s Downey. Even in his darkest days, he was doing good work, but lately he seems more in touch than ever with what makes him great as a performer. He’s excellent with comedy, and he can break an audience’s heart with ease. Rare combination.
And when the franchise finally gets into some of Tony Stark’s darkest hours, when he faces down his own demons in the second film or the third, can you imagine how much soul Downey can bring to it? If handled right, that’s some of the most potent dramatic material in any Marvel movie, and now they’ve got the right actor to make it all work.
Congratulation, Favreau and Paramount and Marvel. Can’t wait.
And thanks for the call, Harry. Hope THE FOUNTAIN screening is going well.