Jeff Bridges Calls Iron Man ‘A $200 Million Student Film’

2008’s Iron Man may be over eight years old, but the reverberations of that film are still being felt today. Not only is Robert Downey Jr. still playing Tony Stark on a regular basis—we last saw him in May’s Captain America: Civil War—but the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched by Jon Favreau’s surprise mega-hit. However, that film’s success was far from a foregone conclusion during production. In fact, Iron Man villain Jeff Bridges recently acknowledged that the shoot was something of a mess.

During an appearance on Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Bridges explained that his thorough preparation wasn’t enough to make for a smooth, comfortable shoot. “It turned out that many times—10, 12, 15 times—we would show up for the day’s work not knowing what we were gonna shoot. All the guys in the studio are sitting there tapping their foot, looking at their watch, and we’re sitting in my trailer trying to figure out my lines… I made a little adjustment in my head. That adjustment was, ‘Jeff, just relax. You are in a $200 million student film. Have fun. Just relax.’”


That strategy obviously paid off, as it resulted in Bridges’ biggest hit, paving the way for the career-defining year (2010) that gave him two more blockbusters (TRON: Legacy, True Grit) and an Oscar for Crazy Heart.

It’s all the more reason for Sam Rockwell to mourn the role that got away. As CinemaBlend reminded us yesterday, Favreau came close to casting Rockwell as Tony Stark. Ultimately, the actor had to settle for a role in Favreau’s 2011 flop Cowboys & Aliens, leaving an Iron Man-shaped hole in his filmography. To visualize the intriguing—but far less enduring—film that might have been, keep Rockwell in mind while watching the Iron Man trailer below.