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Robert Downey Jr. says he was 'absolutely blinded' by the OG Iron Man suit

Superhero movies have never been the same since a little 2008 film called Iron Man

The movie proved to be the perfect way to introduce the world to what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Robert Downey Jr. was perfectly cast as Tony Stark, a billionaire who realizes the weapons his company makes are falling into the wrong hands and decides to make the world a better place by becoming a hero for justice. A post-credits scene featuring Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) hinted at a then-mysterious idea known as the "Avengers Initiative," and the rest is cinematic history. 

Robert Downey Jr. has become one of the biggest actors in the world, so it's hard to imagine a time when casting him as the lead in a major blockbuster was viewed as a risk. However, that's exactly what director Jon Favreau did when he took the former addict and turned him into the wise-cracking superhero. Of course, Downey Jr. didn't have all the luxuries he has today. David Letterman sat down with the actor for an upcoming episode of the Netflix interview show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, and from a sneak preview, we've learned what it was really like actually having to wear the Iron Man helmet. 

The short version? It wasn't fun. 

Robert Downey Jr. had a wear an uncomfortable Iron Man helmet

In the interview, Letterman asks the actor if the helmet was really there as a physical costume piece. Downey responds, "Initially, it was — everything was really there. They wanted to spend as little as they could on CG replacement." He goes on to explain how the helmet would slam closed, making it pitch-black to the point where he couldn't see anything. To make things even more uncomfortable, two LED lights would come on inside the helmet for Iron Man's eyes. "It was like Manchurian Candidate," the actor explains. "I was absolutely blinded."

Downey wasn't the same megastar he is now back in 2008. It makes sense he would have to deal with some uncomfortable costumes for his first big movie in years. A lot has changed over the last decade, with the actor becoming a household name for his acting abilities rather than his personal life. As time went on and visual effects advanced, things became a lot easier for the actor. That's clear when he talks about his curtain call in Avengers: Endgame, a costume process he describes as "Put two dots here and then you can paint it in later."

Iron Man was a gamble that paid off in a big way, and now if Robert Downey Jr. doesn't feel like wearing a helmet, you best believe he won't be wearing one. While this clip is only a minute long, we can look forward to greater insights regarding Downey's career in the MCU. All Marvel fans will want to tune in when the episode debuts on Netflix on October 21st, 2020.