If the rumors are true about Ultron’s origins in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and Iron Man creates the Avengers’ nemesis instead of Ant-Man, then the movie is going to be quite a weird reunion for Robert Downey Jr. and James Spader.
The former Brat Packers’ only other time on screen together was in the 1987 flick “Less Than Zero.” In the Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, RDJ plays a college-aged drug addict named Julian, while Spader portrays his drug dealer Rip who eventually gets Julian into prostitution. It’s a far cry from the adventures of Tony Stark and Ultron, that’s for sure.
At the time, Ellis hated the adaptation of his novel, but said that Downey and Spader were the only two actors who were properly cast in “Less Than Zero.” Hopefully that appropriate casting comment can also be applied to the actors’ Marvel Cinematic Universe roles. At the time Downey was cast as Tony Stark, he seemed like a strange choice for Iron Man, but the role ended up revitalizing his career and making Iron Man one of the most currently popular Avengers.
At first glance, Spader might seem like a strange choice for Ultron. But Marvel has made gambles with casting that have paid off in the past, and Spader seems like he might be perfect for the angry Marvel supervillain who, as director Joss Whedon says, will have a “bee in his bonnet” in the upcoming movie.
Spader and Downey have proven chemistry, and their longtime offscreen relationship will help inform their onscreen one — whatever it may be — in “The Avengers” sequel. It also helps that Whedon is a clear Spader fan, as he name-dropped the actor in the pilot episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Check out RDJ and Spader in the “Less Than Zero” trailer below, and see just how much they’ve changed in the past 25 years: