10 Famous Movie Characters You Didn't Know Were Based On Real People

9. Iron Man Was Based On Howard Hughes And Elon Musk

Tom Cruise American Psycho

Handsome, rich, deeply flawed business magnate innovates flight technology to be used in a military capacity. Quick, who are we talking about? Inventor of the Iron Man suit, Tony Stark, or inventor of the Spruce Goose, Howard Hughes? The answer, of course, is both.

Hughes was the perfect inspiration for The Avengers' leading man, as the peculiar entrepreneur basically hit every checkmark on Stan Lee's list when the comic book writer started designing his newest superhero.

"He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billonaire, a ladies' man, and finally, a nutcase. Without being crazy, [Tony Stark] was Howard Hughes." - Stan Lee

Hughes was also an eccentric, whose colorful personality is all over the DNA of the character. Though, luckily, Hughes' later "eccentricities" - you know, like locking himself in his home theater and peeing into empty bottles for months at a time - have yet to make it into the films.

Speaking of which, when it was time to bring Stark to the big screen, Robert Downey, Jr. decided to look to the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, for more inspiration. Director Jon Favreau has said he initially had trouble trying to figure out how to make Stark seem real. After a meeting with Musk, everything sort of clicked.

"Elon Musk makes no sense. Elon is a paragon of enthusiasm, good humor and curiosity — a Renaissance man in an era that needs them." - Jon Favreau

Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor.