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Look out for more coverage of
Iron Man in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Iron Man

THE STARS:
Robert Downey Jr • Terrence Howard • Jeff Bridges • Gwyneth Paltrow
DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau

Robert Downey Jr THE CONCEPT:
Based on the Marvel comic series, billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is kidnapped by a group of insurgents. Injured by life-threatening shrapnel embedded near his heart, Tony is ordered to build a devastating weapon for Raza (Faran Tahir), the mysterious leader of the insurgents. Instead, Stark builds a suit of armor that keeps him alive and gives him superhuman strength and physical protection.

U.S. RELEASE: May 2 2008, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

JON FAVREAU:
Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau“The good part about an origin story is you have a whole Joseph Campbell journey that the guy goes through in becoming a hero. The problem is you have so much story to tell that it starts to get clogged up with too much stuff, and then you end up rushing through to beat your villain. The problems with the second and third ones are you’ve got great villains, everybody knows the hero, but how is he different from the beginning to the end of the movie? For me, as a filmmaker and a storyteller, I really look for that whole progression in character, what’s the mythology of this movie, what’s the myth that you’re telling, and that’s what makes it entertaining.”

ROBERT DOWNEY JR on Iron Man being an unusual choice for him as an actor:
Robert Downey Jr“I remember the original Superman, and Brando was in it. I thought, ‘Wow, these things must be getting legit.’ I was already fairly opinionated when I was seven. I’m kind of like a nerd about this stuff and I think there’s been this onslaught obviously of these genre films, and I hope this one is different enough to accommodate whatever snobbery might be unleashed on me by my peers and friends. No one has given me any guff about Iron Man.”

TERRENCE HOWARD (Lieutenant Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes) on working with Robert Downey Jr.:
Terrence Howard“I love him. The first film I ever saw him in was Weird Science, which I watched 400,000 times. So when I met him that was all I wanted to talk to him about. He had heard all those questions before, but to find that he was a fan of mine (was great). I told him that the reason I wanted to do this movie was I wanted to work with him, because I wanted to learn from him. He’s brilliant. Every single day he rewrites his script. We’ve got great writers, but every day he would sit down with them and spend the first hour and a half making it perfect. He has this jovial nature about him that floats everywhere. Therefore, when he focuses on something, it’s powerful. It’s magical. He’s really one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with in my life.”

FAVREAU:
“When we cast Robert, and Marvel gave its okay, it completely freed me because I knew that I was halfway there to having a movie that I could be proud of. I can’t think of anybody better than him. He brings reality, a humor, a panache, a life of experience. There’s a lot of Tony Stark in him, and that’s so much better than trying to teach somebody to pretend that they are funny, or pretend they are smart, or pretend to be talented, or pretend that they have lived with fame and lived with the challenges and benefits of it.”

HOWARD on if he based any part of his character on people he met while doing research:
“General Thomas. He’s so insightful, He’s a black general, I had never heard of a black general in my life, so I was happy to meet him. He’s so sweet, but very direct about what he has to accomplish. I shook his hand respectfully, I thought strongly, and he slapped my hand away. He said, ‘You fly a $200 million aircraft. Act like it.’ So I shook his hand again, and tried to break it!”

DOWNEY JR on the Iron Man costume:
“I love Stan Winston, and all the guys on his team. If Jon and I are Tony Stark, then it’s me and my stuntman who winds up being Iron Man, because it’s such a massive undertaking. At first I said I wanted to do as much of Iron Man as possible. But it’s really tough. The first time you try on the suit, I swear to God you could put the least mucho superhero looking man or woman into the suit, and in 15 seconds you could believe that any of them could destroy the nemesis. It really is the long game. It’s about how do you not have a personality meltdown in hour seven when you feel like you’ve been tarred and feathered and covered in machine parts!”

Iron Man

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Iron Man site
Images above © Paramount Pictures
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #696, June 2008 cover

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