Robert Downey Jr. was one of Hollywood’s top actors for decades, beginning in the 1980s with a string of blockbuster films, before becoming a powerful and popular icon of popular culture. In fact, many would say his stint as the MCU’s Tony Stark cemented his legendary status.
That being said, one wonders how many video game characters the actor could embody on the big screen. If Robert Downey Jr. decided to tackle any of these roles, he would undoubtedly bring them to life in a big way, while also giving them his own signature. The results would be simply amazing.
Handsome Jack (Borderlands)
Handsome Jack is an extremely likable character who relies almost exclusively on sarcasm as a defining personality trait, with a ruthless cruelty slowly behind. Robert Downey Jr. has proven himself to be more than capable of being a fantastic cinematic puzzler, thanks in large part to his now-iconic stint as Iron Man in MCU movies.
His performance as Jack would be slightly different from his Borderlands video game counterpart, voiced with excellence by Dameon Clarke, but that could easily work. Downey Jr. would need to inflect some real humor into the role, at the premiere Iron Man film, as opposed to the more serious banter of later films.
Jesse McCree (Overwatch)
Jesse McCree is a younger character, which means Robert Downey Jr. would theoretically have to be younger to play the role (or the character himself would have to be much older). Either way, the actor could easily tackle the soft-spoken, overly polite gunslinger.
Downey Jr. would have to put aside his trademark kinetic energy a bit to really nail McCree’s personality, but his versatility as an actor would make that easy enough. The key personality trait he should conjure up for the role would undoubtedly be charm, which is part of what makes McCree one of the Overwatch best characters.
Gordon Freeman (half-life)
Of all the characters Downey Jr. could direct, Gordon Freeman is perhaps the best, for several reasons. First of all, it has that build paw, as well as the overall face shape and facial hair. Hit him a pair of glasses, give him a crowbar and Gordon Freeman would really come to life.
Second, it would be an opportunity to explore Freeman’s personality through a feature film. The game deliberately leaves the protagonist silent so the characters can fill their shoes in an RPG-style way, but a half life the film would need to establish the kind of guy that Freeman is.
There has already been an attempt to bring Max Payne to theaters, with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it left a lot to be desired, especially when it came to the game’s most serious subject matter.
Robert Downey Jr. would have fulfilled this role perfectly. The actor could be playing an older, much grizzled version of Payne, with a level of nihilism that sank years after his family was massacred. As such, it would be best if the film bypassed an origin story altogether and jumped right into the action, with Downey Jr.’s Payne going through the trauma through flashbacks.
Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption)
Arthur Morgan is the second of two gunslingers that Robert Downey Jr. could play with complete ease. Morgan is well known for being both a villain and a gentleman (at least to some degree). It’s a natural fit for the actor, who could play up his own charm and apply it to Morgan’s character.
Plus, Robert Downey Jr. has enough gruffness in his personality and physique to play a depressed, dirty cowboy like Morgan. It would probably end up being one of his most charming and uplifting roles, especially considering Red Dead Redemption references to classic western movies.
Joel (The Last of Us)
Robert Downey Jr.’s incredible performance as Tony Stark in the MCU was evident in how the character changed over time. He started out as a bachelor with a bad conscience trying to right past wrongs with an optimistic outlook on life, only to slide into paranoia and defeatism later on.
Joel is the same kind of character; a broken man searching for a new purpose in a world that has crumbled around him. Downey Jr. should bring up Tony Stark later, a man far more paranoid and nihilistic than his former self. It remains to be seen if actor Pedro Pascal will be able to pin down Joel’s mannerisms better than Downey Jr. could.
Joseph Seed (Far Cry 5)
Robert Downey Jr. has played several villains in past movies (like US Marshals), And he is doing it well. When he turns up the heat, it’s really scary, and that’s just another facet of the actor’s repertoire. Taking on the role of an evil man with a savior complex, like Joseph Seed, should be a walk in the park.
It might be interesting to watch Downey Jr. play a Far cry video game character who leads a fanatical religious cult, with himself as the Messiah figure. This would be an opportunity for the actor to tap into a side that he does not often have the opportunity to experience.
The Illusionary Man (Mass Effect)
Martin Sheen played Mass Effect mysterious Illusive Man with a level of sophistication and villainy that has made him one of gaming’s finest antagonists. A feature version could put Robert Downey Jr. in that particular role, complete with the cybernetic contact lenses to match.
Naturally, Downey Jr.’s performance would be different enough from Sheen’s, but not enough to alienate audiences from the popular villain. The actor has a knack for playing characters who have ulterior motives and are willing to manipulate those around them for a more profitable business.
Cid Highwind (Final Fantasy VII)
Dying her blonde hair and inserting those blue-eyed contact lenses (à la Thunder in the tropics), and Downey Jr. could easily slip into the boots of the adorably gruff Cid, of Final Fantasy VII. It would also give the actor a chance to break loose when it comes to comedy and drop the chips where they could.
Cid is characterized primarily by his coarse personality traits, as well as his intelligent personality. An actor like Downey Jr. could bring those traits to life, alternating between the character’s sandpaper disposition and his penchant for science and mechanical engineering.
Hancock (Fallout 4)
Hancock is one of the most interesting characters in Fallout 4 entirely due to his ruthless, yet utterly honorable nature. Downey Jr. could easily tackle the role, with nothing but prosthetic ghoul makeup and a nifty outfit to sell the performance.
Hopefully the film’s director would opt for a more unique look for Hancock, like the one shown in this popular Fallout 4 mod. If so, Downey Jr.’s personality and physique could shine through, allowing him to establish the character much better than the original.
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