Jon Favreau is a big fan of Sam Rockwell, which is evidenced by his scene-stealing turn in Iron Man 2 as well as the news that he’s hired him on again for his upcoming project Cowboys & Aliens, which also stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde.
“Sam Rockwell, I thought would work really well with Mickey,” Favreau said about casting him as Mickey Rourke’s financier Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2. “He doesn’t get intimidated by talented performers and movie stars. He’s done a great job with a lot of people. Ever since our first collaboration when he was the gender un-specific concierge in Made, I knew that he was an inspiring and inspired dude. He’s a fun, funny guy. He really always was a fountainhead of ideas and great stuff.”
In fact, Rockwell was almost Favreau’s choice to play Tony Stark in the first Iron Man before they brought in Robert Downey Jr. “I thought he could be an untraditional, interesting other way to go, as we were listing a lot of younger actors that didn’t have a lot of experience that were a little bit more traditionally what you’d think for a super hero role. Then when I met Robert, pretty much we clicked, and I knew that that was the guy.”
Being an also-ran for the starring role really fits the wannabe character Rockwell is playing this time around, however. “Justin Hammer wishes he was Tony Stark,” Favreau said, “and he really embraced that aspect of the character. He has a ball with it.”