Last week one of our writers, Johnny Whiteshoes, had the opportunity to attend the Iron Man 2 press event in Beverly Hills CA. He had a great time and you can read his detailed and funny experience at the press junket Right Here.
Now here's the transcript of everything that was said at the press event. All the questions from the press and answers from Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Feige, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, and writer Justin Theroux.
It was pretty entertaining, so go ahead and read what all went down at the Iron Man 2 press event Below!
Question: Coming into this movie, did you feel any pressure doing a sequel to such a successful first film.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: You mean feel, like it's past tense? I didn't sleep last night. No really, I didn't sleep last night... at all.
JON FAVREAU: I've never done a sequel before, unless you count me being under 5 on Batman Forever, as an actor, as a sequel. But, for me, there wasn't the same pressures that you're used to seeing, especially with smaller movies where you're throwing a party and you don't know if people are going to show up. Here we knew people were going to show up, we just wanted to make sure that everybody that showed up had a good time and this was going to be as fun or more fun than the last party. It was a different kind of pressure.
Question: Can you talk about what the timeline for Iron Man 2 is? How does it fit in with Thor and Captain America?
KEVIN FEIGE: Well, Jon already revealed on his Twitter account that Iron Man 2 takes place before The Incredible Hulk. If you pay attention towards the end of the movie, you'll see a little clue that tells you that it's happening before The Incredible Hulk.
JON FAVREAU (looks at Kevin with a smile): The whole idea of an Easter egg is you don't talk about it.
KEVIN FEIGE (Looks at Jon with a smile): Or Tweet about it. (The whole room laughed).
Question: Jon, in all the trailers, we see that scene with Gwyneth and Robert in the back of the plane before Robert jumps out while saying "You complete me", but it was cut out of the movie. Was that meant to be part of the Stark Expo scene?
JON FAVREAU: Yes. But, we had different versions of things that we tried. That was a great image that we love and a scene that's probably going to be on the DVD. We had two different versions of it and, because of the pacing and the way we reveal Tony Stark, it felt really good to flow into the drop-down and reveal him for the first time, on stage.
Question: Gwyneth and Scarlett, which pair do you think will work together better in this world, Pepper and Natalie, or Tony and Rhodey?
GWYNETH PALTROW: If Scarlett and I were doing it, the body count would be different.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: More organized. We'd just stack them. I don't know. With the brains, the muscle, the beauty and the blonde, I feel like we have a greater chance.
GWYNETH PALTROW: We're unstoppable.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: We are. It's true. I feel like, if I could wield the guns and do the karate chop movements, and Gwyneth could be the brains behind the operation. That's her one super-power. "I will out-think you!"
Question: Robert, is there any truth to the rumor that you are going to be playing the Vampire Lestat
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: Any movie that's going on right now, just assume that it's been offered to me.
DON CHEADLE: He's going to be the lead in Precious 2.
Question: Mickey, can you talk about the experience of doing a role like this?
MICKEY ROURKE: It was great.
Question: Can you elaborate?
MICKEY ROURKE: I had a lot of fun. It was great. I was working with some great people. Jon is real easy to work with. Makes it fun. Remember, I had just come off of working on a film with no budget. I didn't even have a chair to sit in. I remember, the first day on Iron Man, I asked for a cappuccino and they said, "What kind would you like?"
Question: Robert, growing up, did you ever dress up as a superhero or comic book character and if so which one?
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: Growing up, no. But, in my mid-30's on a corner in Palm Springs, right before getting arrested, yeah. (once again the whole room erupted with laughter).
Question: Justin, how much of your script is on screen and how much of what we see on screen came out of a collaboration with everyone?
JUSTIN THEROUX: It was a heavily improvisational set. Everyone gets to shine. So my job, as the writer, was really just to stand on the dance shoes of Robert, Jon, Gwyneth and everybody, and try to rewrite things on the fly. We did have an extensive development process, where we actually had a script, and that ball just keeps rolling into production.
JON FAVREAU: The story itself was very well flushed out. What has to happen in each scene, we understand. We leave a lot of room, within those scenes, and try to do multiple cameras sometimes, or stay up and rewrite. Justin was doing multiple passes, sometimes double-digit passes, on scenes because we learn things from each scene that we shoot. We try to shoot pretty much in order. And, what's nice about having the actors we have is that they're all very good stewards of their characters, emotionally, and they're used to being in films where you don't have the safety net of all the high technology and the explosions. And so, if they have an issue with something we're asking the character to do for the story, we discuss it and we figure out a way to make it work for them, as a performer, and also for the movie.
Question: Don, your character Rhodey was played by Terrence Howard in the first movie. How did it feel to have the opportunity to play this character in the sequel?
DON CHEADLE: I felt very fortunate to work in a film like this. Terrence is a friend and I've known him for a long time. I was one of the producers on Crash and put him in that. It was good to also see him and put anything to bed that people may have thought was a problem. It wasn't. We're cool. It was a lot of fun. We get to play with the best toys and the best technology.
Question: Don, what was it like to wear the War Machine suit?
DON CHEADLE: I don't know why the War Machine suit was actually made of metal and Robert's was a light fiber glass material. Maybe it was just an initiation.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: The reason Don's suit was heavier is that it's almost impossible to get that mirror-like look of a polished metal with CGI. I would not wish it on an enemy.
DON CHEADLE: No. We're going to have to come up with a different substance for the next one.
Question: Jon, with a largeline up of villains to choose from, why did you choose Whiplash?
JON FAVREAU: I met with Mickey at the Four Seasons Hotel and I brought him some artwork. Whiplash, in the comic book, is a guy wearing tights with a big purple feather coming out of the top of his head. That wasn't what we wanted. We wanted the tech version of that. So, we were concocting a version of the Russian, thinking of Viggo in Eastern Promises, with the tattoos. Then, it was like Marv and The Wrestler. Between the fanboys and the independent film community, Mickey was back with a vengeance. There's a lot of people in the film and we didn't have a tremendous amount of screen time, so it was about who was going to be there and make an impression, so that you feel like Tony Stark is in trouble. Mickey brought a lot of intensity to both of those roles. We did some artwork and I met with him, and we talked about everything. It was before all of the awards things started to happen. We had a nice little connection. I talked to people who had worked with him, and they said great things about him. His talent is undeniable. So, that conversation ended and then Robert was on the road with him doing the awards tour, and he was lobbying, every time they sat together, to try to get him to join the movie.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR (To Mickey): I really worked you like a rib. It was embarrassing. I was literally begging you to do this movie, in public. Begging.
Question: Robert, there are a lot of new actors in this one. What was it like with working with such a different cast?
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: It was great. These are all folks that I'd be happy to work with, in any circumstance and any medium, so it was just swell. I don't want to say I'm neurotic, but I felt a little bit like a co-manager of a baseball team that just got an even better line-up in the Spring. I felt a little beholden to be partially responsible for their experience. But, a lot of that really fell on Justin. He had a horrible neck problem during the whole shoot. At one point, I thought he was going to have his head removed.
JON FAVREAU (About Justin): That poor guy would show up and we'd wheel him in, and he would type and hand us pages. I've never met anybody with a better work ethic, or somebody who could bring inspiration to each scene that he would do. We've talked about how we bounced stuff around, but Robert and Justin had a really good rapport from Tropic Thunder, and Justin understood Robert's voice and how to weave in and out of Robert's creative process very effectively. To jump onboard a franchise, it was probably the sharpest learning curve for Justin and he did a fantastic job.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR (Interjects): Can we just talk about the real question (Looking over at Mickey)? What's up with the bird? (In the movie, Whiplash has a pet bird he's very fond of and the cast go on to talk about how Rourke actually then went out and got a pet bird for himself).
Question: There's a real Moonlighting thing going on between Tony and Pepper in this film, and the kiss was highly anticipated. How was it finally having that on-screen kiss?
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: I couldn't get her off me. It was embarrassing.
GWYNETH PALTROW: It was great because both my husband and his wife were right there
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: Yeah. She told me that I didn't know what I was doing and that it didn't feel good, and I was like, "First of all, we're all friends, so what would be creepy was if I was coming off all sexy to you." And, by the way, I've done that in movies and it creeps them out. So, what am I going to creep her out for? Despite what she said on set, she still thinks about it.
Question: Jon, your glorified cameo from the first movie definitely got more fleshed out, this time around. Why did you decide to join in on the action yourself? And Robert, we see your wife's name was in the credits as a producer on this film, when she wasn't on the last film. What did that mean for you?
JON FAVREAU (To Robert): You wanna answer each other's questions?
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: Yeah, let's swap. We're going to take each other's questions.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: Let's talk about Happy Hogan. There's three Happy Hogans in the movie. There's the Jon Favreau that's actually in excellent shape. He was boxing everyday, in pre-production, and made it into the ring for the scene where he gets his ass handed to him by Scarlett. That was originally a longer scene and maybe he was just too emasculated to let it be in the movie because you (looking at Scarlett) laid the boots to him quite severely. Then, about midway through, he was struggling with the meta-fast, and occasionally binging on pizza and then saying, "This is crazy. I have to get back in the gym." Then, a few months later, by the time we were doing re-shoots, they were framing him out of shots.
JON FAVREAU (To Robert): Oh man, I just feel so used by you right now.why don't you just throw me a dollar and a towel (I personally thought I was going to die laughing when he said this).
JON FAVREAU: Susan is a great producer. We were moving towards a start date and we had a lot of ideas spread out, and we had bulletin boards, and Justin was there, and Robert was there, and Kevin and myself and Jeremy Latcham had index cards, trying to figure out how to make the work flow through. She has tremendous organizational ability and she understands Robert's creative process, understands the first movie and lived through it with us. Susan, who had a very strong background, both in development and in physical production, was able to come and just help. It's just like one of those shows where they're going to organize all of their closets for you and you throw out the clothes that you don't need anymore, but it takes somebody to go, "You're never going to wear that again! You're never going to fit in that." And, they throw it away or give it away.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: On a certain level, they might've thought that she was going to come in and tame me or put me in check, but I was completely out of my mind and power hungry.
JON FAVREAU: Yeah, she ended up taming us.
Question: At one point, there was talk about a spin-off movie for Black Widow. Is that still going to happen?
JON FAVREAU: I would love to see that. Hell, yes!
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: Kevin?
KEVIN FEIGE: It's definitely possible.
Question: What are some of the cool extras that you're planning on for the DVD and Blu-ray
JON FAVREAU: We were running cameras behind the scenes, all the time. We don't like to really show too much of it before the movie comes out to keep some surprises, but everything was very well documented. As you can see, we have a very interesting group of people, so between the interviews, you get a really good sense of that work. We're fans of these movies. Kevin and I are always swapping books and things about the movies that we grew up loving, and that'll be documented very well. There will be pretty extensive featurettes, and then commentary this time around. Also, there will be deleted scenes that we thought would be interesting for people to see. So it's more a movie fan set of extras, for people who really want to immerse themselves. If you don't, it's going to be boring. We did overkill on this one.
Question: Scarlett and Gwyneth, both of your characters are suave and smart in this film. You're not just sex symbols. Was that the appeal?
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: Well, I've never really seen a film of this genre where the female characters' sex appeal came second. Of course, they're sexy characters. When you have a sexy secretary or a girl swinging around by her ankles in a cat suit, that's innately sexy. But, the fact is that these characters are intelligent, ambitious, motivated and calculated, to some degree. To be just a pawn in this story of a whole bunch of men fighting it out and rolling around and getting down and dirty, and there you are, a vision in a tight cat-suit, would be a boring thing to me. I think that Jon really made that very clear, in the beginning, that as far as Black Widow, or Natalie, was concerned, she was mysterious and nuanced and something to peel back the layers to. He wanted there to be something there. I think that's why this film is so much more dynamic for me, as an audience member. I've never really been a huge fan of this genre, and I think that's because it was always sort of one-note and very explosive. I think because Gwyneth and I are able to be the brains behind the operation, in some aspect, there's a happy medium there that adds to the charm and charisma of the finished product.
GWYNETH PALTROW: I agree with Scarlett. I think it's actually a very smart decision to have women who are capable and intelligent because it appeals to women. It's not only a film for 15-year-old boys. It's a film that can relate to a lot of people, on a lot of levels, and a lot of my girlfriends like it because of the romance. It doesn't look gratuitous. It looks like there are interesting women in the movie. My character is quick and articulate, so when you take your kid, if you're a mom, it's really fun for you to watch as well. It's nice to see women who are aspirational, smart and sexy, all at the same time.
DON CHEADLE: I think that 15-year-old boys are into that, too.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: It's oddly old-fashioned, in the best sense of the word. These characters are like those fabulous femme fatales of the Golden Age of Hollywood. More Bette Davis than Jane Mansfield, which I think is so much more dynamic to watch.
(The Iron Man 2 Banner falls off it’s stand, and lands directly behind the cast. Everyone stares, so Robert Downy Jr. and Jon Favreau hold it up while Gwyneth Paltrow finishes answering a question.)
ROBERT DOWNEY JR: Sam Rockwell ladies and gentlemen!
(Robert Downey Jr. now bored of holding up the banner wraps himself in it, and gains my respect for being willing to make us laugh, and not take himself too seriously.)