WAMG At The IRON MAN 3 Press Day – PART 1
IRON MAN 3 is back, and packed with more excitement than ever! Recently, WAMG was invited to attend the IRON MAN 3 press day where Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Sir Ben Kingsley sat down with members of the media for a press conference. Check out some of the highlights below.
Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
This first question for Gwyneth Paltrow. I wanted to talk about the transformation of your character. Within the span of three films she goes from the assistant, a little bit of damsel in distress into like the president of Stripe Industries, and she wears the pants in the relationship. Can you talk a little bit about like the gradual transformation of your character especially in this film where she really takes power?
GWYNETH PALTROW: Sure. Thank you. I feel really, really lucky that I got to play Pepper for that reason because I think very rarely do you start at one such a distinctive place and end up somewhere else. And I really loved their relationship in the first movie when she was a supplicant, and cleaning up his messes and I loved that. It was very specific, and then, you know, to get all the way to where she is at the end of the trilogy, you know, it was a big transformation. And I think one of the things that I loved the most is that she really steps into her power in all areas. And you do see her as a very intelligent articulate CEO. You see her now in an equal relationship with Tony where she wants her needs met as well while still remaining a very supportive woman in his life. And then, of course, she turns into a super hero or sort of. But it was a great transformation, and I felt really lucky to be a part of it.
Robert, Tony gets to interact with a kid for the first time in this film, which is great I thought. I was wondering if you were happy that was in the script, and can you talk a little about interacting with a young Ty?
ROBERT DOWNEY: Ty Simpkins is great and I think we’ll be seeing a lot of him. Shane Black had this idea of this kind of capraesque departure. I mean a lot of things in Iron Man 3 I think we all knew we were taking risks, and we were kind of out of what would have been the familiar territory. And his idea of a super hero running into a little kid in the heartland of America, I think wound up being a wise choice and kind of a calculated risk.
Now, this question is for Sir Ben Kingsley, and obviously Mandarin is a unique villain, something that we’ve never, ever really seen in a movie like this before. How much of the Mandarin is persona, both of them, was already in the script and how many was your invention? How much of it was your invention?
BEN KINGSLEY: It’s all in the script. Drew and Shane presented us with a wonderful document, and there’s very little straying off the written word. improvise it’s minimal, and just to maybe sharpen one or two ideas that we were playing with on the set, but it’s all there. And I do respond to the written word. I love to see it down there on the page, and it was all there. I tried to give the Mandarin in his political broadcasts a rather unnerving sense of righteousness, and make him almost paternalistic, patriarchal. And that’s where the timbre of his delivery comes from, and weird iconography was there to disconcert and completely scatter any expectations of where he might be coming from. I think again the line, “That you will never see me coming” involves … It sort of voices, that unpredictability that he has. It’s a great script. It was a wonderful read, and we stuck very closely to it.
Robert, will you be filming another scene tonight?
ROBERT DOWNEY: Oh, let me explain this to you, my associate. We shoot those Easter eggs, which is after the credits there’s that little piece that gets everyone real
DON CHEADLE: Oh, I never sat through the end of the whole thing. There’s something at the end? [OVERLAPPING] As soon as Rhodey is off the screen I usually walk out.
The movie is pretty funny. Of course, you’re obviously a funny guy and everything. But you talk about that kind of approach where the producers or the director talks of tone before shooting the movie. Was there any changes? Was it supposed to be darker and then it switched to be like more into like comedy?
ROBERT DOWNEY: Well, yeah, but first I’d like to offer a counterpoint what Sir Ben said because he actually when once we let him off the chain, we found that he was a glorious improviser and a lot of ideas without giving his character arc were just flowing out from what was written. But again, you know, Drew and Shane had a good document. The story is really good. The twists are really good. But I would leave it to my other co-stars to describe what working with me on most of our other scenes was like. And they’ve gotten used to it and they’re great at it. Don.
DON CHEADLE: Do you want me to say what you paid to say or just say what I feel? No, it was great to come back this time around and, you know, Shane almost coined and really put a stamp on the sort of buddy action movies where I was clearly in the pocket with Robert. It was great to see the whole movie put together at the end because we’re in such different tracks. I didn’t know what Gwyneth was doing for half of the movie. It was great to see it all put together and say, “Oh, that’s what you guys were doing over there.” You know. I saw Sir Ben twice on the set. So it would be great to have another bite of the apple personally for me to be able to mix with these guys a little bit more, but we had a ball. And Robert is a prince, as you all know. This question is for Don.
Don, so which one do you prefer, Iron Patriot or War Machine? And also how do you think that Rhodey has evolved in this stuff understanding in terms of just being an integral part to himself or just a companion
DON CHEADLE: Well, the Iron Patriot is about three kilos heavier. So I prefer War Machine. But, you know, this iteration of the film really is something that Robert and I talked about after the second, you know. He came to me and said, “Now, let’s try and really kick this relationship off, and really try to see who these guys are.” And a lot of fun for me in this one was being able to do a lot of action outside of the suit, and getting to work with the stunt team and doing a lot of the cable work. That was just a big thrill for me. It was like, you know, I was big kid being able to play with the best toys. So I think you see the relationship has strengthened in this one, and it’s sort of pays off on the promise that I think was made at the end of Iron Man 2 in the Japanese garden where these guys really started busting each other’s chops, and, you know, back-to-back. You know, they’re friends, but they still really help balance one another, and I thought that really came to fruition in this one.
Robert, so there was a definite finality in this movie, but you know you’re never going to get rid of this character. You’re too perfect for it. So how go negotiations for 4…
ROBERT DOWNEY: I’m not at liberty to discuss that. I do want to say that our stunt coordinator, Marcos Rounthwaite came to me at one point and he said, “You see Don just rolled into the room and fired off all those shots miss all these things. Then the guys feel, and then he went exactly where he was supposed to go?” I said, “Yeah, what are you getting at?” He goes, “Nothing.” The future as usual is uncertain, and I think the great thing is that, you know, we never could have known what and who was going to come together for the third Iron Man. And usually the third of anything struggles to even meet the first two, let alone the first one. So in all earnestness, you know, things are very much in flux right now and Marvel has their plans and we’re all living and growing. We’ll see what happens.
My question I have one for Robert and one for Don. For Robert, your character has dealt with so much. He has, you know, betrayal. He’s dealt with blood poisoning, aliens, the destruction and loss of his home. Where would you like to see Iron Man go next emotionally? And for Don, your character he gets to use his suit more in this film, and you also get to see more of his actual military training. Which do you prefer more? Do you prefer being in the suit more or, you know, showing off what a great solider that he is without the suit?
DON CHEADLE: Do you remember the first one for you?
ROBERT DOWNEY: I seem to have wound up with two glasses of water in front of me. So I’m absolutely out of mind right now.
DON CHEADLE: I prefer being out of the suit. The suit is great, and it’s great to be able to achieve all the things that we want to achieve with the CGI and the motion capture and all that. But like I said, I had the most fun running around with Robert, and us actually physically going after it. So that’s my answer.
ROBERT DOWNEY: I don’t know. I mean it’s funny. These things tend to kind of come out of creative discussions, and there’s always something, you know, when we’re shooting we always say, “Oh, wouldn’t it be great …” But a lot of those things have kind of come true already. You know, I was always saying, “God, I just want to see Pepper in the suit. I want to see her experience with what Tony gets from it, and I want her to help him transcend it, and all that stuff. So it’s kind of like the, you know, wish fulfillment happens pretty quick in the Marvel universe, you know. So I don’t have any particular goals with it right now.
You spend a lot more time out of the suit fighting. Was that a plus for you, and then Gwyneth, we’ve seen your transformation. Any chance of you being part of the Avengers on the next one?
GWYNETH PALTROW: You want to go first?
ROBERT DOWNEY: What studio do you work for?
DON CHEADLE: And I think you want to ask me if I want to be in the Avengers. Weren’t you in the Avengers already?
ROBERT DOWNEY: Let’s give a round. There it is public opinion.
GWYNETH PALTROW: I will say that, you know, one of the most thrilling parts of, you know, having gone all over the place in talking about this movie is that people really love to see Pepper in the suit and like kicking ass. And so, I would come back. You know, in the comic she becomes Rescue, her own person.
ROBERT DOWNEY: And she marries Happy Hogan.
GWYNETH PALTROW: Oh, yeah.
DON CHEADLE: It might be for the adult channel.
Talk a bit about the challenges of maintaining all those different story lines and rooting them in this one film. And also, Robert, you had mentioned, you know, three endings are always difficult, you know. We have to really be careful about a guy leaving the franchise. This seems to be a little bit like a back to basics tone because of everything is taken away from him. So it’s much more stripped down in a sense. So if you guys can expand on that and tell me more on that that would be great.
ROBERT DOWNEY: It’s a complex thing, you know, Kevin Feige. The folks weren’t here, you know, Kevin and Shane. I mean they’re the ones who really had to hammer out where do all these strings go and how does everything move something when you
GWYNETH PALTROW: But if I can interject.
ROBERT DOWNEY: I wish you would.
GWYNETH PALTROW: Thank you. You know, the truth is that these movies work because Robert plays Tony Stark, and not only because like of the similarities in their own lives and not because of his specific brand of vulnerability and strength and humor and all those things. But because Robert has a really big picture creative mind about what these movies should feel like. We all know that Marvel are amazing at, you know, the stunts and the CGI and the action and everything. But I think one particular strength of Robert’s that we don’t see on screen is the fact that he’s always asking like what is the big picture here? How can we make it feel real? How can we make it feel like something we care about and we want to watch? I think that’s why the movies keep working, and they’re not sort of like a weaker carbon copy of the one before.
BEN KINGSLEY: Yeah, I’d agree with that. That’s true.
Getting back to the suits, and Gwyneth, was there a little bit of suit envy here?
DON CHEADLE: Well, I know that when–I know in the second one Robert when he was putting his suit on and just had the top of it on, and I was putting mine on and he said, “Yeah, I told them from one to two that they really had to make these changes and this a lot more lightweight.” And I was like, “Mine weights 7,000 pounds. What are you talking about lightweight?”
GWYNETH PALTROW: You guys are wimps. Okay, the suit is not that bad …
DON CHEADLE: You never wore. You never put it on.
ROBERT DOWNEY: You never wore Don’s.
DON CHEADLE: She was a CGI.
GWYNETH PALTROW: I did wear the suit.
DON CHEADLE: You didn’t wear my suit. I’ll bring out the suit.
ROBERT DOWNEY: I admit we’re wimps, in Iron Man 2 Don’s suit was so hard to even pick up to put on him. And the hardest thing about this stuff is really again it’s like any of this CGI stuff or any of like … You know, I mean Ben was essentially in special effects makeup the whole time.
DON CHEADLE: Yeah.
ROBERT DOWNEY: And he would just come on the set, and we’ve all had these moments, but you always wonder where your lot is going to come grab you. And Don has had that for some reason or other. I promise you my dearest brother I will never allow that to happen to you again. I make all of my commitments in public.
DON CHEADLE: Robert was like, “Is that heavy enough?” Robert said, “Well, shouldn’t you have something else on there? It was fun.
ROBERT DOWNEY: And Gwyneth, by the way, she did come in and she was having a ball, and her kids were there and she was in rocking shape. So it was all nice and easy. I think she wore it once or twice. It’s an accumulative issue.
How will people respond to the film in today’s unsafe world?
DON CHEADLE: Well, sure. I think especially with the events of the last week we’ve been asked a lot. I’ve been a lot, anyway, about if there are any sort of, you know, illusions between what’s happening in the real world and what’s happening in the film and are we trying to make a statement. And clearly this movie was in the can before anything happened, transpired in the last week. But as Robert mentioned earlier, the job of this film is to entertain. That’s what we’re hoping to do. If we’re lucky enough to outside of that have someone’s mind changed about something that’s happening in the real world or sensitivity that wasn’t there before or some deeper understanding, that’s some ancillary bi-product that we couldn’t have anticipated. I couldn’t have anyway. We’re really trying to give people I think the ability to go into a darkened room, and have a couple of hours of just pure enjoyment. And if anything else happens outside of that, that’s an unintended consequence, but one that’s a happy one, I guess.
ROBERT DOWNEY: Yeah, and I think Sir Ben will find this really interesting to have an entire generation of just movie going folk, but also just kids identifying Sir Ben with this character slash characters he’s played. But I think you notice once you have that kind of feedback, it’s not like you don’t figure that into what you’re doing. And Disney acquired Marvel, but Marvel was already mindful of this stuff. These aren’t those kind of like PG-13 bordering on how did this ever get past the Ratings Commission movies? You know, we’re really thoughtful about this stuff. And I think even in your character’s transition, there’s something about it that allows the air to be taken out of the darkness that would otherwise be there maybe.
BEN KINGSLEY: Yeah, also, to pursue Gwyneth’s point that it does come from Robert. Whatever the context, whatever the scene, there’s always a quest for sincerity; a quest for the genuine, a quest for putting the human dance on the screen. And all generations will respond to that. Children do respond to sincerity, and Robert as a guiding actor through our experience will always debate where is the sincerity in the scene, where is its heart? And I think that will appeal to children of all ages. To use a rather hackney
GWYNETH PALTROW: And, you know, we do live in an unsafe world. That’s the truth and I’m dealing with this now with my seven-year-old. fact that the world is unsafe, and there are people who do harmful things. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with presenting that idea. We can’t lie to our children and pretend that the world is perfect and everybody is happy, and everybody is out there to do good. So, you know, it’s just part of a bigger conversation. I know that after my children saw the movie, I had certain conversations with my son about it. And so I think it’s a good sort of contained place to have a conversation.
Robert, since the aftermath of New York has had such an impact on Tony, what was your take on how much you could refer to that in the movie? How much we want to hear about what happened in the Avengers, and how much Tony doesn’t want to talk about it?
ROBERT DOWNEY: Again, we just wanted to play with that in kind of a binary way to be weird. It’s weird when one movie that’s connected to another doesn’t reference that movie at all. You know what I mean? It seems like we were so busy trying to make our thing work that we didn’t have space. So I think it would lack confidence if we didn’t. I thought it would be helpful. I just like the idea of this kid kind of getting under my skin, and I like the idea of kids bringing their parents to the verge of an anxiety attack. And kind of going like, “Oh, what’s wrong with you?” Once they push you there. And I thought that was a nice way to refer back to it. We needed reasons, and sometimes you can just look at the bigger picture of this now kind of like continuance of stories, you He’s sort of grappling with the I was reading this morning about the new Thor and I’m like, “Oh, wow, oh.” You just kind of plug things in like an operator. It’s like, “You know what, that fits here real nice.” And again, we’re always aware. Even more so. You know, Jon Favreau on the first Iron Man we went out and we went to Comic Con, and he had a flip phone in his hand and he goes, “This is how it’s working from now. You know, the filmmakers, the artists, the departments heads they’re all showmen and the audience is talking back, and they’re going to ask you that question. In the post Avengers world, “what was it like for Tony and this and that?” So you kind of have to have thought about, and you have to have addressed it creatively.
I have a question for Robert. You had a pretty fruitful partnership with Shane Black on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Can you just talk about your relationship with him in terms of your creative relationship with him, what he brings to this franchise?
ROBERT DOWNEY: Well, yeah. Well, I think it would be nice to kind of go down the row here and just use describing words or anecdotes. I’d like to say we’re night shooting and he would tend to when they cut he would like run somewhere. Because it was the only time someone couldn’t ask him a question was if he was in a full out run. And he ran across the street. The next thing I knew he was kind of sitting down on the sidewalk, and I would say there was a cable in front of wherever you’re working and he had hit it at such a clip that it had thrown him on his side, dislocated his shoulder.
GWYNETH PALTROW: This is not a funny story, my friend.
DON CHEADLE: It’s kinda funny.
GWYNETH PALTROW: No.
ROBERT DOWNEY: He’s fine.
DON CHEADLE: I thought it was funny.
ROBERT DOWNEY: You know, you would …
GWYNETH PALTROW: Robert, he had cracked ribs and he was all bloody and blue.
DON CHEADLE: Oh, my God, it gets better.
ROBERT DOWNEY: Anyway. You know, by the way, I have a story … Forget what you asked. Here’s what I will say. Sir Ben is correct in some way and I’ve, you know, tried to be some sort of guiding light. Every bit as often I would go to set and Gwyneth would like, “Oh, my God, what are we doing? What is this scene again this time?” Like, “Shooting Pepper.” And she always points true north, and Jon said from the first time she’s the heart of the movie. And this time I’d be working with Don and he’d be like, “You know that thing where you say something funny and I say something, and then you would answer it and we do that?” I go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” He goes, “Okay, can we not do that in one scene?” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, great idea.” So there was a lot of give and take. Back to Shane. I can’t tell my story so I’ll let the others speak. She’s probably right.
GWYNETH PALTROW: I think the thing is that, you know, at least I can only speak for myself. When I started Iron Man 3 I was very uncomfortable with the fact that Jon wasn’t there directing. And I felt that, you know, Jon cast the movies, and he’s responsible in part for the Avengers. And it was just, you know, and I know lives and everyone is busy, but it was just weird that he wasn’t there directing. But, you know, as we went on and I really warmed to Shane and his terrible outfits. And you know, he is the most–he is so sharp. He is so smart and his dialogue was incredible. And I think what we started with on this movie that we didn’t start with on the first two films was a really excellent finished screenplay. And I think it really shows in the film. I think Shane is really super talented, and he brought something. You know, he took it up a notch, which was really difficult to do. So I ended up having an incredible amount of respect for him.
BEN KINGSLEY: I only remember him being in one terrible outfit. I don’t remember it
being plural outfits.
DON CHEADLE: How bad is that one?
BEN KINGSLEY: He has a great attribute as a director, one of many great attributes is that the director will give you the role and then he will let go. This is a wonderful quality that he has. There are some directors lesser in confidence or skill who make the actor feel very uncomfortable because you feel you’re auditioning for them everyday. And that’s a terrible feeling on the set. But Shane has this wonderful ability in his own confidence, and his ability to cast a movie to say, “There’s your role. I’m just going to film it.” And it’s really good energy to have on the set.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley, Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” is directed by Shane Black from a screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black and is based on Marvel’s iconic Super Hero Iron Man, who first appeared on the pages of “Tales of Suspense” (#39) in 1963 and had his solo comic book debut with “The Invincible Iron Man” (#1) in May of 1968.
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