Reformed wildman Robert Downey Jr's drug and alcohol-abusing past helped him land the role of a crime fighter in new comic book adaptation IRON MAN. Director Jon Favreau wanted a star who has had to battle considerable personal demons for the role of Tony Stark - and Downey Jr's past, which included a year in prison on substance abuse charges and several visits to rehab, was perfect. Favreau says, "We didn't want to just go with a safe choice. "The best and worst moments of Robert's life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That's Tony Stark. "Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character who is having trouble in high school, or can't get the girl. Plus, he's simply one of the best actors around." Downey adds, "I want to show Jon he was right to have faith in me. Whatever questions might have arisen about my life weren't issues with him."