Luke Owen reports from today’s London press conference for Iron Man 3….
Not even Baroness Thatcher’s funeral could stop the stars of Iron Man 3 as they descended upon the luxurious Dorchester Hotel to promote the first part of Phase Two of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. In attendance were stars Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark / Iron Man), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes / War Machine), Ben Kingsley (The Mandarin), Rebecca Hall (Maya Hansen), screenwriter Drew Pearce and director Shane Black.
Kinglsey talked about how he was welcomed with open arms and was never treated like a ‘new boy’ which made him feel very much at ease. He seemed genuinely pleased with the movie and had a great time doing it – a sentiment that Downey Jr. also shared. When discussing his wonderful performance, Downey Jr. and Black recalled how he was applauded on set after a day of shooting. Kingsley was also very praising of the script from Black and Pearce and said that was what drew him to the project.
While his character will no doubt be a major talking point of the movie, Kingsley said that his scenes were exactly how they were set out on the page – even though Downey Jr. and Paltrow have been known to improvise lines here and there.
Shane Black couldn’t escape questions about being a new director on a “trilogy” but he said that he doesn’t think of Iron Man as a “trilogy” as, “there was a big movie in between Iron Man 2 and this one called The Avengers, so this is really the fourth movie”. He moved on to talk about how this shaped the script that he and Drew Pearce put together, which was something that Downey Jr. felt benefited the film. “We knew we couldn’t be the spectacle that Avengers was” he said, “so we went for a personal story”.
Black did talk about taking over from Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau and that he was, “an absolute prince” to him when putting this film together. He said that they had many meetings and Favreau gave him a lot of input when writing the script. Downey Jr. added that Black and Pearce met with himself, Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow before starting work on the script as they wanted to see where they thought their characters would go following “the events of New York”.
In a wonderful damning of modern ‘blockbusters’, Black said that the technology to make these films is “perfect” and that “you never walk out of a movie and say, ‘the sound on that was really shitty'” but what they are missing is the story – something he wanted to avoid doing when scripting Iron Man 3.
Paltrow herself was also very complimentary of the film and said that she was’ “almost surprised” at how good it was – a line that got her some stick from Downey Jr. She did backtrack by saying that she, “struggles to follow the movie when I’m on set”. She also touched upon how great it was to see the evolution of her character and that doing the action sequences were a lot of hard work. Along with Downey Jr. and Cheadle, they all agreed this was the movie that was the most work for them physically.
It came as no surprise to find out that Paltrow was not a fan of comic books growing up, but she also revealed that she’d, “never even heard of Iron Man until Jon (Favreau) called me up”.
Neither Downey Jr. or Shane Black wanted to really touch upon the political aspects of the movie, but Black did briefly mention that he had nothing to do with to do with the cut that will be seen in China.
The conversation about Downey Jr. and Black working on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came up and someone asked whether we’d see those characters on the big screen again. Black simply responded, “it would be nice wouldn’t it? But no.” He elaborated about how it didn’t make enough money to warrant a sequel – even though, as Drew Pearce said, it was a big hit in the UK. Black, rather disparagingly, noted that UK box office is, “what? Half of American?” Seems we won’t be seeing a follow up to that movie then…
On a brighter note, Downey Jr. joked about how he was trying to compete with Don Cheadle in terms of fitness but was reluctant to admit that Cheadle was fitter than him. “But I will beat him” he added, “I will be fitter than him in Iron Man 17“. Through his laughter, Cheadle questioned, “who does franchises that are 17 movies long?” to which Paltrow retorted “Marvel do”.
Iron Man 3 opens in theatres nationwide on April 25th ahead of a North American release on May 3rd.