While most people consider Iron Man to be the film that revitalized Robert Downey Jr.’s career, transforming him from a possible has-been to an A-list celebrity in an instant, the more appropriate origin for his rebirth is actually 2003’s Gothika.
When the actor originally joined the production, he was still seen as a dangerous prospect, to the point that 40 percent of his compensation was withheld until after filming was completed as an insurance policy in the case of any further high-profile occurrences involving his personal life.
Despite a solid $140 million box office take, the ridiculous psychological thriller was severely ridiculed, with just a meager 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it set in motion a series of events that catapulted Robert Downey Jr back to the top of the industry.
Not only did he meet his future wife Susan Devlin on the project, but he also became close with producer Joel Silver, who was her boss at the time. Industry veteran Silver was a longtime friend and collaborator of Shane Black, and played a huge part in securing the lead role in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for Downey Jr.
In turn, the cult classic crime caper ended up catching the attention of a certain Jon Favreau, who was seeking a lead for his in-development Marvel blockbuster at the time.