IRON MAN 3: Robert Downey Jr. talks in-depth about returning to the role, Tony after the Avengers, Director Shane Black and Joss Whedon’s input
Robert Donwey Jr recently talked to Collider.com about returning to his role as Tony Stark in Marvel’s anticipated IRON MAN 3 out very soon!! Check out some of the interview below:
On returning to the role for a fourth time?
“I was kinda looking forward to it. I don’t want to say “kinda”. That’s tepid. You know that thing of it’s spring break or summer or winter and you have these plans? You want to go to Sedona, right? So push that peanut down the road a little bit. This is, to me, the kind of grab bag wish list of things we’ve always wanted to do and haven’t had the chance. I put so much onus on Iron Man 3. Iron Man 3 was supposed to answer all the questions for an audience. Cure all my uncomfortable moments in the past playing this character and get in every idea that fell by the wayside the last three movies. Then we shot the movie and I feel like there’s still a number of other things we have to do.” – Robert Downey Jr.
On any news of an Iron Man 4 film?
“I don’t know” – Robert Downey Jr.
On whether this film features a lot of improvisation, like in previous Iron Man films?
“It’s two-fold. As we were finding our way and trying to build towards the possibility of Avengers, there was a lot of armature and things we had to deal with as far as, “What are we going to exactly do?” and “What are we going to exactly say?” But there was a lot of, “What are we doing in act three?” “Where are we ending all this?” I think that, by the time Shane had teamed up Drew Pearce, the overall arc of the turns and acts and themes and all that stuff in the story remained relatively unchanged, which is amazing. They really kind of made just exactly the right size sandbox for the whole thing, but there’s some new kind of twists in it architecturally. That’s just the way Shane writes, you know? Nothing is arbitrary. Everything has some meaning at some point later in the story or speaks to a theme. That’s the hardest stuff to try and grab when you’re already shooting. That said, I respect him so much that I did not respect his day to day writing at all and I just looked at scenes at the beginning of the day as, well, they had to put a bunch of words on this or they couldn’t have a call sheet. These are called sides. I call them three-piece. Three pieces of paper with print on them. Which must be annoying to an excellent writer, but that’s just the way I’ve been conditioned. I get a good script and go, “This is good! I mean, we’re not going to shoot it, but…” - Robert Downey Jr.
On how Tony’s changed since The Avengers:
“Well, we had to do something, you know? I thought, “Isn’t it odd that he had this experience? And why was he suddenly just in New York for one summer?” We know why he was there. Stark Tower. But what he was doing there was really building an architect for a third act set piece. I wanted him back home and I thought, “What if that happened to any of us? Wouldn’t we be a little tripped out? You’d be watching your back.” Then I thought about this 21st century reality and kind of oddball zeitgeist of America and terrorism and all the weirdo stuff that this country seems to generate and co-create. So I thought should be a little freaked out. We always had this idea where we wanted Tony and Rhodey to be at this place two miles away from where his house is called Neptune’s Net on the PCH. I really wanted to see them at Neptune’s Net with their suits just parked outside like motorcycles. They’re inside and just two guys. I didn’t even know if we could get Neptune’s Net. There’s licensing. It’s like saying, “Let’s go shoot at Spago!” I was like, “Is it? Did you ask them?” I wanted that kind of sensibility and so did Shane. We both wanted them just sitting on a couch with a martini. I go, “A martini? Hold on now!” “Alright! Just sitting on the couch. Pepper comes home. There he is.” Shane had all these iconic images and I had my own. The studio and Kevin [Feige] had an equal amount of theirs. It turned into this really surprising and entertaining and really deep and cool movie.” – Robert Downey Jr.
“They’re very similar. You also can’t really work with one without reaching out the other. Jon and I reached out to Shane on several occasions and Shane definitely would refer back to Jon on a lot of stuff. Jon has an incredible sense of showmanship and Shane is much more kind of introverted. When he does become ectomorphic, it’s very entertaining. For instance, we were night shooting and he just went running across this thing. He caught his head on something and dislocated his shoulder. He just sat there and we were like, “Well, back into the emergency vehicle.” He was like, “Just two more shots! I’ll stay, I’ll stay!” I said, “You have to go to the hospital.” Jon is very smooth and Shane is a little more like myself and a bit spiky at times. But I’ve also changed. There’s the Jon that directed the first “Iron Man” and the Jon that directed the second one and the Jon that has done all the things he’s done. What I’m really happy about is that, as things have changed, that Shane has stepped in and run with this obviously fantastic opportunity. I’m just so comforted that nobody has suffered for all of it, including the franchises and the movies themselves. Jon and I have offices across the street from one another. Shane and I are still speaking. It’s a nice relationship, you know? Again, I think it’s a testament to Kevin and the real central people at Marvel. They’re very, very thoughtful about their choices.” – Robert Downey Jr.
On how IRON MAN 3 differs from the other fims Tony has appeared in:
“Yeah, more than any of the other three that I’ve been involved in. It seems to be very uninhibited. I’m just not used to working this way. Fortunately, Shane and all the other creatives and myself banged out a story that, quote unquote “earned” it. We had “The Avengers” and had something where we all loved how it turned out. We thought, “Let’s not get indulgent now, but let’s go back to Tony and Pepper”. It was also really, really great to have Happy come back. Jon [Favreau] was just so great. He was standing on the set and we had designed this workshop. He says, “All I have to do is put on a suit and crack jokes. This is going to be great.” He’s actually very integral to the story and all that stuff. But it is true, this one is Tony’s journey from A to Z, chasing the bad guy. It’s a bad guy who draws him out to places that he’s never been before and I think that that was what was attractive to Shane. He said, “I’d like to see him crashing in mid-America. I’d like to see him interacting with some kid who kind of doesn’t really relate to him as anything but Iron Man.” – Robert Downey Jr.
On what he thought Joss Whedon did to help the film:
“I think, honestly, what he brought was momentum. It’s a twofold thing. When you have something that’s just an unprecedented smash, you can sort of relax for a second, but you’re also following that. He brought us a lot. He brought us a lot of comfort and a fair amount of performance anxiety (laughs).” – Robert Downey Jr.
On how The Avengers changed the standards to for Iron Man films:
“Again, there’s people who are, strangely, smarter than me making these decisions, I’m told. The funny thing is, Iron Man 3 is simultaneously a much smaller storytelling style, but it also feels just personally — because I’m not on the mountaintop with Thor and Loki in Cleveland — I mean New York — with Cap and Black Widow and Hawkeye and all that. I’m in every second of every action scene in this movie. I’ve never done so much action in my life. The scope feels really, really big. Again, I think Marvel’s intention is to defy expectations again. Let’s not just start with this thing that starts and gets to a big bang at 11. It wouldn’t be nice counterprogramming for The Avengers.” – Robert Downey Jr.
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