Playing one of the most successful superheroes on the big screen, Robert Downey Jr. made Iron Man a household name, even if you weren’t into comics. Now, Downey Jr. and his alter ego, Tony Stark/Iron Man, share the spotlight in the newest superhero flick The Avengers.

In Marvel’s The Avengers, when an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins to build the world’s most amazing team of heroes including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

Robert Downey Jr. dishes on making The Avengers and how this time around, it’s not all about Tony, and why Mark Ruffalo is the perfect Hulk.

On Tony Stark working with the Avengers

“What made the original Iron Man the origin story work so well is that it was plausible. Then we had a bunch of fun doing the second one. So this one, again, speaking of alternate realities, there’s a way that Tony can react with the Avengers because he’s had hints that this Nicky Fury guy has been stringing him along but it’s no surprise because you have to see it through Tony’s eyes to understand these bigger ideas.”

What makes Tony Stark want to join the Avengers:

“I think he’s curious. It’s hard for him to ingest what is going on so he has to see it first hand. With Rhodey, he realized he is not an island and so there was kind of a partnership outside of his with Pepper and I think this time it’s about ‘we’ is better than ‘I.’”

Working with Mark Ruffalo:

“I always thought that Mark was the guy to play Bruce Banner/Hulk because there’s kind of something immensely introspective and affable about the guy that makes that curse or that karma he has is not of his doing but his responsibility to manage some way. He’s just a funny, quirky guy but he’s a straight shooter.”

On director Joss Whedon:

“It’s no surprise after you’ve worked with him for a few days that he’s a profound technician and he’s drawing on everything he needs to do to make it his own. There are new depths of discovery for our characters, there are new things in the air and they each feel more real. The guy’s my hero. He should be yours.”

On the superhero drama still having influence:

“Of course they do. It’s a phase in every kid’s development. With some, the phase happens when they’re in their 40s!”

The Avengers opens Friday.


—Toni-Marie Ippolito


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