When it comes to casting for the MCU, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says that “every decision” to cast actors has to be made with Robert Downey Jr. in mind. Why? Because he was the first MCU character and every character since Iron Man has interacted with him to some degree.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Feige had this to say:
“We set the bar pretty high with Robert [in 2008’s Iron Man] with the first major casting decision of the studio. Almost every decision since then has been based on knowing one day, if we’re lucky, whomever we’re casting will have to go toe to toe with Robert.”
Fast forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming and we have Tom Holland’s Peter Parker squaring off with Tony Stark, his newly acquired mentor. Robert Downey Jr. had nothing but praise for the younger actor, saying that Holland “demonstrated a really natural internal conflict.”
“Tom demonstrated a really natural internal conflict. It’s really hard to get down to the real meat and potatoes of what makes someone tick. And to do that while screen testing for the relaunch for Marvel’s most beloved? We all noticed.”
Downey Jr. also spoke about the fact that Holland’s talents for doing backflips also helped him for the role.
“Yeah, he does all that stuff. The problem with doing a backflip is that they keep asking you to do backflips in less and less friendly environments…like with a blinding mask on in a crowd of people. Tom’s experienced enough to be able to enjoy all the stuff that’s about to happen to him. I knew him when.”
Downey Jr. won’t be appearing in the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, but he did have some slight teasers for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.
“Doctor Strange [Benedict Cumberbatch] is coming over to watch Homecoming with me. He just got here and started shooting. Then [Mark] Ruffalo comes in next week and I’ll find out what the heck is going on in Ragnarok. It’s like we’re all deeply embedded journalists who go out to these foreign nations and come back and kibitz about the stuff we’re not allowed to talk about because it’s classified.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming will be in theaters July 7.