Downey thanks Tom Cruise for passing on Iron Man and Chaplin

Connie Queline

Downey thanks Tom Cruise for passing on Iron Man and Chaplin

Robert Downey Jr. is expressing gratitude to Tom Cruise for turning down the roles of Charlie Chaplin and Tony Stark.

Tony Stark and Charlie Chaplin stand as two of Robert Downey Jr.’s most iconic performances. And while RDJ may have expressed relief that Chaplin didn’t nab him an Academy Award, he’s well aware of its special place in his filmography. And he may have an unlikely person to thank for even landing the part – the same person who also passed on Iron Man: Tom Cruise.

In a new Vanity Fair profile, Downey offered his gratitude to Cruise, saying, “I think I’ve got to thank Tom Cruise for a couple of things.” Ahead of being cast in 1992’s Chaplin, Downey recalled meeting with its director, who was far more enamored with Cruise, then fresh off of Days of Thunder. “I went into my agency, and Richard Attenborough was in there. I guess someone had gotten him to take a meeting with me…He held up a picture of Tom Cruise. He goes, ‘Now isn’t that remarkable, the resemblance to Tom Cruise? The eyes! The skin…’ I was like, ‘I mean, there’s a couple of people that kind of got it.’” Reports also put the likes of known comedians Robin Williams and Jim Carrey circling the role, but those are far less inspired than either Cruise or Downey.

It’s hard to imagine Tom Cruise as Charlie Chaplin but it’s less so in the case of Tony Stark, who is just the sort of superstar, franchise-launching character – at least in retrospect considering all that came after – that we could have seen Cruise play. Fortunately for Downey, Cruise passed (reportedly due to his salary), which RDJ believes may have just been one of possibly other roles that arrived at his feet due to this. And now we can’t help but picture Cruise as Wayne Gale…

Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. only have one credit together: 2009’s Tropic Thunder, with both actors stealing the movie whenever they’re on screen. Indeed, Kirk Lazarus and Les Grossman show the two having some of the most fun they’ve ever had on the big screen.

Can you picture Tom Cruise as either Charlie Chaplin or Tony Stark? What do you think has been RDJ’s best role?


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