- Jun 28, 2007
- Reaction score
New Wizard interview, I thinks it's from the new Wizard movie magazine
ROBERT DOWNEY JR. TALKS IRON MAN
The actor discusses living large, working out and going to a happy place when youre stuck in the armor
By Rickey Purdin
Posted December 3, 2007 9:15 AM
Ask anyone what they think of actor Robert Downey Jr. and youre just as likely to hear praise over his brilliant acting career as you are about the drugs, booze and decadence that nearly destroyed his life. But starting May 2, 2008, all youll hear is the sonic boom he discharges when he jets into theaters at Mach 2 as the metal-clad superhero Iron Man.
Directed by Jon Favreau (Elf), Iron Man welds together an all-star cast including Downey as wealthy weapons industrialist Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow (The Royal Tenenbaums) as his assistant Pepper Potts, Jeff Bridges (Seabiscuit) playing the conniving baddie Obadiah Stane and Terrence Howard (Crash) as Starks military liaison Jim Rhodes. After a kidnapping at the hands of terrorists wakes the affluent Stark up to the crime-ridden horrors of the world, he sets out to create a suit of armor (complete with repulsor rays and rocket boots!) that allows him to smash evil in the face.
But first, Downey smashes us in the face with his thoughts on everything from his rocky past to meeting Stan Lee to the intricacies of using the bathroom. Now take notes!
LIVING LARGE AS TONY STARK
I could say that were similar. Hes in better shape, hes smarter, and hes probably a lot more quintessentially manly at the end of the day than I am. Its not like I use a different voice or something. Its just Im an American guy and a citizen of the world, and theres plenty of role models for that stuff.
HIS TROUBLED PAST
I think that when someone has had a fundamental changetheyre not just trying to backpedal and make it seem like, Im going to rehab again. Everything is fine. Im fine, but Im still clubbing tonightby the time that youve seen the light, by the time you get out of Dodge and start doing the right thing, you really dont relate to the person that historically people still say you are But I get it. In a way thats why its ideally suited for me and Im ideally suited for it.
Right from the beginning, I guess the response to me being cast was good. If it hadnt been good, it would have made me try eventheres no even harder. Im not an incurable perfectionist, but Im a hard worker. And I take it real serious, seriously enough to know that at the end of the day, by the time youre shooting it, and youve exhausted every opportunity to make it watchable, that then you relax and enjoy it.
CRANKING UP COMIC FILMS
[While filming] there were a lot of moments of just pure bliss and understanding and feeling at one with the movie universe and the whole thing. But for the most part, we cranked and rocked and worked our asses off and tried to figure out how to not do this scene in this superhero movie ever again the way weve seen it 10 times. So we were always trying to put our own fingerprint on it, so that it didnt seem like youre just caught up in that technical realm.
We just rotate. We had a support group. Id be laid out in the suit and the helmet. And then they take the helmet off going, Uh. And [stuntman Mike] Justus would be there like, Dude, you okay? And Id be like, Are you on tomorrow? He goes, Second unit, all day. Id be like, Oh, dude. And then, the next day, between shots, Id go over to the second unit. Hed be like Ohhh. Id be, What happened? He goes, Nothing, I fell, and I had to tuck my arms. And Id go, Uh. What do you need? He goes, Maybe a little Advil. Id be like, Ill be right back.
DIRTY SEXY MONEY
I drove really cool cars, and Ive got this plane thats a mile long. The only time Ive ever gotten used to real wealth and toys and all that was when I was visiting my other buddies who have done franchise movies. My lot in life is not to be that kind of guy, but to simultaneously enjoy it and realize thats empty materialism.
READING COMICS AS A KID
[I read] Spider-Man, Iron Man, Avengers and I was big into Sgt. Rock. That was another element of why doing Iron Man was so appropriate, strangely, for me, is Im a big military buff. And Im strung out on the History Channel and the Military Channel.
TONYS HARDCORE SCIENCE SIDE
Every aspect of flight and the technology and the weapons system on the later developments of the suits, its not like hes out there on a test site. Hes basically gone underground. So the only test pilot he has, and again it was a little bit of a Howard Hughes nod, is himself. And some of it is terrifying, and some of it is hilarious. But its hard not to applaud the guys [like Tony]that inability to not keep tinkering with something, even if its going to kill them.
DISTANCING HIMSELF FROM STARK
Its so funny because I think that Im old enough to have a pretty strong aesthetic distance. I remember the days of Less Than Zero or Chaplin where I would just throw myself into this tizzy of prep or live the role for 16 hours. The same makeup gal whos doing [Iron Man] did Less Than Zero and puts menthol in my eyes and puts latex on my lips and I was doing push-ups before the scenes so that my heart was racing or whatever, and I feel like as much anything nowadays its not that were not phoning it inwe do really care and weve really prepped it into practical oblivionbut I say, I still try to have some distance.
MEETING STAN LEE
I took him to The Grill in Beverly Hills and I said, What were the real origins of this, Stan? He said, We kind of did it on a dare. It was whether you could make a billionaire industrialist hedonistic somehow through this vulnerability. You think about it and its interesting. I mean, 30 years ago and the history. That was a time when there was a very strong anti-establishment, anti-military industrial complex. So for [Stan] it was just a huge challenge.
IMPROVISING WITH JON FAVREAU
Jon has been very flexible and very fun because were very similar. I mean, I dont know how this comes across, but its really Jon and I who are creating Tony and through that, half of the lines are his and half of the ideas are mine and weve got all these great people at the top of their fields who are simultaneously exasperated with the fact that were betting on an idea. I come in every day and I say, Ive seen this in a movie before, no offense. But if we do this, I havent seen that. Some of them are so far out they go, Will you just go and put on your chest piece and earn a living like everyone else?
RESPONSIBILITY TO COMIC FANS
More often than not, I feel the onus and the responsibility to not venture into this genre without an understanding that its actually inhabited and enjoyed by very apt, bright, perceptive and often educated-in-the-arts people. So, just because it happens to have this two-dimensional aspect to it in its origins doesnt mean that it doesnt go deep and that it shouldnt be an art form.
CONSTRUCTING IRON MAN
I love Stan Winston and Shane Mahan and all the guys on his team. If Jon and I are Tony Stark then its me and those fellowsmy stuntmen and stand-inwho can really wind up being Iron Man because its just such a massive undertaking. You could take the least macho superhero man or woman and put them in this suit and I swear to God that for 15 seconds you would believe that any of them would destroy their nemesis.
THE HELL OF WEARING THE ARMOR
Its really about the long game. Its about how do you not have a personality meltdown in hour seven when you kind of feel like youve been tarred and feathered and covered in machine parts, and youre recalling every therapeutic moment that youve ever had with friends and family and strangers and every book that youve ever read.
USING THE BATHROOM
Id like to say that Im the first person whos been able to relieve themselves while wearing the suit. It was precipitous. Suffice it to say, its like that thing where you say, How did that guy escape from jail? And you go, He was thin. Well, there are a lot of thin people in jail. Yeah, but that guys head was just the right size and he got out between the bars.
PACKING ON MUSCLE
When I got the part, they asked if I wanted to put on some size. Im not 28 or some guy whos like Daniel Craig who already had meat packed on his shoulders and then was swelled up even more for that. I mean, youve seen me in all the movies. Im not Mr. Buff Guy and now Im in the over-40 crew and so it has literally been this excruciating process of working out so hard and so often just to not look like a little pot-bellied pig.
CAPTURING A TOM CRUISE COMIC BOOK FEEL
We did a photo shoot the other day that wound up going great, but you see this [comic] picture of Tony Stark who kind of looks like Tom Cruise except more handsome and more buff and the suit and his hair is blowing in the wind and they go, Can we get a shot like that? How do you look in the suit? And youre tired and Im not particularly tall and Im surrounded by giants, and I was like, This is weird.
BEING A SUPERHERO PLAYBOY
This might sound a little weird, but Im not drawing on other things for [Tony]. Its like I consider him to be a real entity for the most part. Regardless of the amount of dough that Ive made over the years, Ive never lived a dayIve never lived four secondslike this guy has lived every day. So its been this really amazing experience to see what it would be like if you had unimaginable resources and you had this change of heart and then you decided to pull those resources into something that became very much like a fetish and obsessive, but obsessive in a way that you kind of have to figure out as you go along what the moral psychology is of that.
SHRUGGING OFF A DIVA ATTITUDE
You have to keep your head right. Its so easy to get spun out. You see people who have no challenges outside of their Hollywood problems come in and they regularly have meltdowns on set where they turn into a ***** or they say and do things because theyre under pressure or because they think theyre something that theyre not.
RAISING THE BAR
This has been a really grueling shoot and its also been a really magical shoot because, I sh-- you not, I come in every day and it reminds of reading about [Charlie] Chaplin in the early days where hed go in without an idea in his head. Its not like we dont have a script. But you go in and you say, How do we raise this to a level of something that we want to see that addresses all the different elements of these kinds of films? Im actually starting to think that theyre a really, really high order of art.