As the launching point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the creative process behind the production of Iron Man wasn’t quite as rigidly defined as for films in the franchise today, much to the annoyance of Jeff Bridges.
That came with positives for MCU director Jon Favreau and the Iron Man cast‘s leading man Robert Downey Jr, but negatives for Bridges. According to a new tell-all book about the history of the MCU, the actor was left feeling angry at the freewheeling duo and their constant re-writing of the script on what is now the starting point for any rewatch of the Marvel movies in order.
Speaking with one of the book’s authors, Joanna Robinson, on The Watch podcast, Andy Greenwald referred to a story in the book that highlighted Bridges’ feelings. “As your book [MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios] illustrates so dramatically, Jeff Bridges was sitting there furious because Downey and [Jon] Favreau were locked in a room writing a script.” Agreeing, Robinson herself then chipped in to clarify that “there was no script”.
Of course, despite Bridges’ anger at the situation, Iron Man remains the high watermark that new movies in the franchise still aim to live up to. It’s simple, but it’s rooted in character and it serves as the perfect example of an origin story and remains one of the best movies in the entire series.
There was one positive for Bridges though, as The Watch co-host Chris Ryan explained. “He was playing dice games with the crew while those guys were in a room for five hours making up [the script].” So, at least he had the chance to improve his… dice skills?
Ironically, while the Iron Man script ended up being pretty damn great, the weakest part is Bridges’ role as Marvel villain Obadiah Stane. The franchise has always struggled to make memorable villains, and he was arguably the genesis for this: just a man who wants revenge and power, as the antagonists so often are.
With that said though, Bridges puts in a solid performance as the Marvel character. Playing Obadiah mustn’t have been too difficult for Bridges, however, because while his character was furious with Tony Stark, Bridges himself was furious with Robert Downey Jr. Life really does imitate art after all.
Reflecting on the whole affair himself back in 2022 with Vanity Fair, Bridges admitted that the fluidity of the script, “drove me absolutely crazy”, while diplomatically describing Downey Jr. and Favreau as: “terrific improvisers”.
Since then, with the necessity for each movie to link in with an overall plan and structure, the level of flexibility that the duo was afforded would be unimaginable. Perhaps, that could tempt Bridges back for a cameo: in the multiverse, stranger things have happened.