Variety’s Actors on Actors series, which features two actors sitting down with one another to discuss their careers and give insight into their acting processes and performances, has been home to a countless amount of great discussions over the past couple of years. In the same vein as an installment where Andrew Garfield and Amy Adams talked about the hardships of playing a character in a superhero movie, Jeff Bridges and Matthew McConaughey recently sat down for a chat, during which the former offered up details about his experience working on Iron Man, the highest-grossing movie of his career.
Iron Man, of course, kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 and had Bridges playing Obadiah Stane, the film’s central antagonist. Bridges gave a fine performance, but, to no fault of his own, Stane was the first of a slew of forgettable villains in the MCU. It was clear that the main focus of Iron Man was, in fact, its titular superhero, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially considering how beloved Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man still is, eight years later.
As has been known for a little while now, the Iron Man script wasn’t complete when filming began, and for Bridges, someone who likes to be prepared before arriving on set, this originally wasn’t an easy condition to work under.
On the initial difficulty of shooting the film in the midst of constant script alterations and his eventual acceptance of the situation, Bridges revealed, “It turned out that many times — 10, 12, 15 times — we would show up for the days 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.”
While most films that are forced to begin shooting without a script garner negative reviews from critics as a result, Iron Man was an exception, as, in addition to being a box office success, it is still viewed by some as Marvel Studios’ best film to date.