Robert Downey Jr.: 24 Roles Before He Was Cast as 'Iron Man'
Iron Man (2008)
You will believe a man can shoehorn himself into a metal suit and fly. Sure, the FX were uniformly outstanding, and Jon Favreau handled the big-budget derring-do with a muscular dexterity we didn't know he had — but Marvel's first self-financed flick worked because of Robert Downey Jr. The Oscar nominee sold us on self-obsessed, self-destructive bazillionaire Tony Stark; he made him a prig we could still, somehow, identify with...and so his transformation from cocky to heroic struck the blockbuster chord.
33. CHAPLIN (1992) SUBJECT: Charlie Chaplin
Sir Richard Attenborough knows his way around a biopic — having won an Oscar for directing Gandhi — but what makes this look at the mania and mad genius that drove Charlie Chaplin to become one of cinema's greatest artistes is Robert Downey Jr.'s hauntingly melancholy performance. Here's where he earned those ''finest actor of his generation'' labels...and why it was so sad when he spiraled out. (And why we're so happy he's back.) —Marc Bernardin