Robert Downey Jr. is hailed as one of the most celebrated actors and is known for a handful of top-notch works in Hollywood. It was due to his Iron Man role; the actor has amassed to an intense popularity. During his peak of success with Avengers movies, that actor was offered many roles, including one for an iconic Oscar-winning flick. However, the actor faced a setback which eventually turned out well for the film.
Robert Downey Jr was allegedly removed from Gravity
Robert Downey Jr., who is known for his incredible acting skills, was chosen to play the lead in the timeless sci-fi film Gravity along with Sandra Bullock. The $100 million-budget movie was looking for a bankable star that had established an expected track record at the box office. Downey Jr., who was enjoying the success of Iron Man, seemed a perfect choice for the studio to cast.
Besides the cast, the production involved an intense usage of advanced technology and CGI, and the actor was felt to be incompatible with them, which led to his removal and, subsequently, George Clooney taking over the role. While speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, the director, Alfonso Cuarón, shared that:
“It became very clear that, as we started to nail the technology or narrow the technology, that was going to be a big obstacle for his performance. I think Robert is fantastic if you give him the freedom to completely breathe and improvise and change stuff. [But] we tried one of these technologies and it was not compatible.”
Therefore, finding the right person for the right role is a difficult part of filmmaking, as Gravity initially faced this challenge until landing on George Clooney. The director also added that after a week of auditioning Downey Jr., the team decided to continue with the initial choice. However, they eventually realized that this might affect the huge amount invested in the movie, and selecting the right lead actor was crucial for its success and the financial return.
“And, after that, we [had a] week that we pretended as if nothing was happening and then we talked and said, ‘This is not going to work. This is tough.”
Eventually, the studio had to make the tough decision of replacing the beloved actor with someone better to ensure the possible success of the movie. Eventually, Ocean star George Clooney stepped up to the lead and brought tremendous success to the film.
Robert Downey Jr. was frustrated during the Gravity audition
Two years after the successful release of Gravity, actor Downey Jr. shared his audition experience with the Howard Stern Show. “I went to do a test with a new sort of multi-spherical camera thing they were [using] for how they were going to do all the CGI.”
The actor recalled that he felt uncomfortable with the audition process, which involved using advanced technology. He found the process severely distracting, and ultimately, he decided to give up when he learned it would take hours. After that, Downey was officially off the project.
And I’m one of those guys who can be comfortably uncomfortable pretty easily, and maybe I was just on my cycle or something, but I went in the morning to do that, and we did it for about twenty minutes, and I said, ‘This is crazy. How much longer?’ And they said, ‘It’s like another two to four hours,’ and I said, ‘No, it isn’t.’”
The 2013 movie, Gravity is regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. The film, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, became a critical and commercial success, grossing a collection of $723 million worldwide. The film was highly praised for its groundbreaking visual effects and intricate storytelling.
The film also received numerous nominations and awards. The film’s success helped set a new landmark for science fiction movies and raised the bar for visual effects in filmmaking.
Gravity is available on Apple TV+