McBeal's Downey for Iron Man

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Robert Downey Jr., who played rascally Larry Paul in the Fox sitcom Ally McBeal, has been cast as lead character Tony Stark in the Marvel superhero movie Iron Man.

Downey joined McBeal in the show's fourth season as the boyfriend of lead character Ally McBeal (played by Calista Flockhart). Ratings for the show rose, but Downey was forced to leave when he had real-life trouble with the law--he was sent to prison for possession of heroin.

Marvel Productions president Kevin Feige said Downey's real-life troubles would only add weight to the character of Stark, a man plagued with his own demons.

"The Marvel characters are not just about how high they jump or how fast they fly, they're about their character flaws," Feige said in a statement. "They're about their inner demons. They're about the struggles that they go through between being a man and being a hero."

Dinner for Five host and Friends guest star Jon Favreau is directing the film, which is budgeted at over $100 million. Favreau directed the Will Ferrell film Elf, as well as an episode of Undeclared and the David Arquette pilot In Case of Emergency.

Downey recently starred in the films Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Good Night, and Good Luck, about CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow.

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