Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Talk “Iron Man 3”, Suit Envy, Avengers 2, & More by Michael Lee
Iron Man 3 opens in theaters and in 3D this weekend, and we got a chance to talk to the stars of the movie. During the press conference, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, and Don Cheadle talked about coming back for another chapter of the Iron Man franchise – for Downey and Paltrow it’s their fourth, and Cheadle it’s his second -, some of the stunts they had to pull without the help of wire work, some of the joys and envy that comes with wearing a suit, and a possible story arc that could appear in the next Iron Man. Check out our interview with the cast below.
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 Stark 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?
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.
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?
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. Whenever we do 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.
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 again?
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, 5 and 6?
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.
For Robert. 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?
Paltrow: You want to go first?
Downey Jr.: What studio do you work for?
Cheadle: And I think you want to ask me if I want to be in the Avengers. Weren’t you in the Avengers already?
Downey Jr.: Let’s give a round. There it is public opinion.
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.
Downey Jr.: And she marries Happy Hogan.
Paltrow: Oh, yeah.
Cheadle: It might be for the adult channel.
Getting back to the suits, and Gwyneth, I would really like you to comment on this. Was there a little bit of suit envy here?
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?”
Paltrow: You guys are wimps. Okay, the suit is not that bad …
Cheadle: You never wore. You never put it on.
Downey Jr.: You never wore Don’s.
Cheadle: She was a CGI.
Paltrow: I did wear the suit.
Cheadle: You didn’t wear my suit. I’ll bring out the suit.
Downey Jr.: 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.
Downey Jr.: 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.
Cheadle: Robert was like, “Is that heavy enough?” Robert said, “Well, shouldn’t you have something else on there? It was fun.
Downey Jr.: 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.
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?
Downey Jr.: 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 know.
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.
Iron Man 3 opens in theaters May 3. Check out our review for the film later this week.