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Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. Talks ‘iron Man’


Pepperony 3000
Jun 28, 2007
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New Wizard interview, I thinks it's from the new Wizard movie magazine


The actor discusses living large, working out and going to a happy place when you’re 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 you’re 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 you’ll 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 Stark’s 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!

“I could say that we’re similar. He’s in better shape, he’s smarter, and he’s probably a lot more quintessentially manly at the end of the day than I am. It’s not like I use a different voice or something. It’s just I’m an American guy and a citizen of the world, and there’s plenty of role models for that stuff.”

“I think that when someone has had a fundamental change—they’re not just trying to backpedal and make it seem like, ‘I’m going to rehab again. Everything is fine. I’m fine, but I’m still clubbing tonight’—by the time that you’ve seen the light, by the time you get out of Dodge and start doing the right thing, you really don’t relate to the person that historically people still say you are…But I get it. In a way that’s why it’s ideally suited for me and I’m ideally suited for it.”

“Right from the beginning, I guess the response to me being cast was good. If it hadn’t been good, it would have made me try even—there’s no even harder. I’m not an incurable perfectionist, but I’m a hard worker. And I take it real serious, seriously enough to know that at the end of the day, by the time you’re shooting it, and you’ve exhausted every opportunity to make it watchable, that then you relax and enjoy it.”

“[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 we’ve seen it 10 times. So we were always trying to put our own fingerprint on it, so that it didn’t seem like you’re just caught up in that technical realm.”
“We just rotate. We had a support group. I’d 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 I’d be like, ‘Are you on tomorrow?’ He goes, ‘Second unit, all day.’ I’d be like, ‘Oh, dude.’ And then, the next day, between shots, I’d go over to the second unit. He’d be like ‘Ohhh.’ I’d be, ‘What happened?’ He goes, ‘Nothing, I fell, and I had to tuck my arms.’ And I’d go, ‘Uh. ‘What do you need?’ He goes, ‘Maybe a little Advil.’ I’d be like, ‘I’ll be right back.’”

“I drove really cool cars, and I’ve got this plane that’s a mile long. The only time I’ve 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 that’s empty materialism.”

“[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 I’m a big military buff. And I’m strung out on the History Channel and the Military Channel.”

“Every aspect of flight and the technology and the weapons system on the later developments of the suits, it’s not like he’s out there on a test site. He’s 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 it’s hard not to applaud the guys [like Tony]—that inability to not keep tinkering with something, even if it’s going to kill them.”

“It’s so funny because I think that I’m 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 who’s 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 it’s not that we’re not phoning it in—we do really care and we’ve really prepped it into practical oblivion—but I say, ‘I still try to have some distance.’”

“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 it’s 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.”
“Jon has been very flexible and very fun because we’re very similar. I mean, I don’t know how this comes across, but it’s 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 we’ve got all these great people at the top of their fields who are simultaneously exasperated with the fact that we’re betting on an idea. I come in every day and I say, ‘I’ve seen this in a movie before, no offense. But if we do this, I haven’t 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?’”

“More often than not, I feel the onus and the responsibility to not venture into this genre without an understanding that it’s 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 doesn’t mean that it doesn’t go deep and that it shouldn’t be an art form.”

“I love Stan Winston and Shane Mahan and all the guys on his team. If Jon and I are Tony Stark then it’s me and those fellows—my stuntmen and stand-in—who can really wind up being Iron Man because it’s 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.”

“It’s really about the long game. It’s about how do you not have a personality meltdown in hour seven when you kind of feel like you’ve been tarred and feathered and covered in machine parts, and you’re recalling every therapeutic moment that you’ve ever had with friends and family and strangers and every book that you’ve ever read.”

“I’d like to say that I’m the first person who’s been able to relieve themselves while wearing the suit. It was precipitous. Suffice it to say, it’s 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 guy’s head was just the right size and he got out between the bars.’”

“When I got the part, they asked if I wanted to put on some size. I’m not 28 or some guy who’s like Daniel Craig who already had meat packed on his shoulders and then was swelled up even more for that. I mean, you’ve seen me in all the movies. I’m not Mr. Buff Guy and now I’m 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.”
“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 you’re tired and I’m not particularly tall and I’m surrounded by giants, and I was like, ‘This is weird.’”

“This might sound a little weird, but I’m not drawing on other things for [Tony]. It’s like I consider him to be a real entity for the most part. Regardless of the amount of dough that I’ve made over the years, I’ve never lived a day—I’ve never lived four seconds—like this guy has lived every day. So it’s 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.”

“You have to keep your head right. It’s 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 they’re under pressure or because they think they’re something that they’re not.”

“This has been a really grueling shoot and it’s 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 he’d go in without an idea in his head. It’s not like we don’t 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?’ I’m actually starting to think that they’re a really, really high order of art.”
Wow. Just wow. I know he's a great actor, but the more I read the more I think this movie is going to be something special.
Wow. Just wow. I know he's a great actor, but the more I read the more I think this movie is going to be something special.

I agree, I loved when he was first cast as TS/IM, and now reading this, hearing how hard he worked out and how much he wanted this part, it makes me like him even more and I can't wait to see this movie, everything is pointing to this being a amazing superhero film.
He was born for this role imo. Most of my excitement for the movie is based off him playing Tony.
Downey will be perfect as Iron Man.
One of the best cast characters in a comic book film.
New Wizard interview


THE WIZARD Q&A: ROBERT DOWNEY JR.The man behind the Armored Avenger on his 'Hulk' cameo, taking a leak in that suit and talking to Tobey Maguire about playing a Marvel icon

By Danny Spiegel
posted 03/26/08

A while back, when Robert Downey, Jr. was first cast as billionaire Tony Stark, it seemed the impossible had happened. The comic community seemed nearly united, as it so rarely is for such things, in its support of the once-troubled actor. "I was honestly amazed," says Downey. "I think it was the most favorable casting response they'd ever had which is just so weird to me." Not so weird, really. Because you just knew that Downey’s innate charm, his glib self-confidence and pure acting chops were the perfect fit for Stark as well as his supremely confident alter ego. ("Thanks, man," he humbly responds when we happen to mention this.)

And now it's time. The final leg of this Iron Man race is about to commence when on May 2, 2008 the next big Marvel film jets its way into theaters with stars Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard at the helm. (Technically, director Jon Favreau is at the helm, but for the sake of that rockin' metaphor, let's not be picky.)

The buzz for the film is there but Downey knows this isn't your typical superhero flick. "It's a different kind of superhero genesis," says Downey, "Even though it's an origin story, we're talking about someone who doesn't have a bat fetish and wasn't bit by a radioactive spider and there are no gamma rays involved. He's just someone who can't stop tinkering and his field of expertise is weapons."

And thankfully Downey's expertise includes delivering a candid interview on everything from his Tony Stark cameo in the "Hulk" film to whether or not he'll be getting gobs of free comics from the House of Ideas.

WIZARD: When you're acting in a suit like this, especially one that doesn't even have a cowl, aren't your acting "tools" kind of taken away from you in some ways?
DOWNEY: They are. I remember being on set in this one scene in a tracking suit from the waist down and an Iron Man composite suit from the waist up and because the suit is 6'5" tall and I’m not [he’s 5'10"], once they called "Action!" and slammed the helmet down, I realized that I was not looking through the eye slots but, basically, through the nostrils. And there are no openings in the nostrils. I was completely in the dark. So the answer to your question is it was like driving with a blindfold on.

Did this "blindfold" experience possibly prepare you to take over the role of Daredevil if that ever comes up?
[Laughs] Uh, I don’t know that anything can prepare me for that. That’s Ben [Affleck's] arena.

Did you have the opportunity to talk with any other actors who’ve played superheroes and had some of the same acting challenges?
Yeah. There was one day, and I'm really grateful for it, I happened to get Tobey [Maguire, whom he knows from "Wonder Boys"] on the horn. Rather than reveal the situation, let's just say it's one of those times when the hero is rendered impotent and has to basically be knocked around like a mouse by the cat nemesis. I said, "Look, what the hell am I supposed to do? I'm struggling like crazy to try to make this not, like, embarrassing and stupid and whatever." And Tobey said, "Don't think about what's uncomfortable for you. Don't even think about the nemesis. Just concentrate on the lives that will be lost and how you're being kept from your call to duty." And I said, "Is it that simple?" And he goes, "I don't know. Try it—it worked for me." So I’m basically calling one of my younger peers who's been down this road and he knew completely where I was coming from and he gave me a sound bit of advice and it worked.

The suit also had bathroom challenges for you. For the average person, the thought of, for instance, a stomach virus kicking in during a long plane ride is bad enough, but you had months of limitations. Did that type of strange paranoia hit you at all?
Yeah. But you know that weird thing [when], say, you have a flu and then it's, like, your sister’s birthday party and it's important and suddenly you're not sick for those four hours? We basically all had that experience for four months.

What was your favorite of the Iron Man suits? The original, the silver one or the main one?
You never forget your first time. So…

Hey, what a great time to ask you about when you lost your virginity!

Just kidding. Please go ahead. Your favorite suit?
[Laughs] The Mark I suit because even though some of that wound up being either painted over or CGI'd for aspects of it, we got to finally see, "Wow, you know, this can work." And even though the suit looks very rudimentary, the fans, when we were at [San Diego] Comic Con, really responded to how true we had stayed to the transition between the '60s and the mid '90s. It was such a relief to us.

[And] the Mark I suit was the clunkiest of all of them. Whoever was wearing it—and sometimes it would be me, sometimes a slew of other stunt guys—was always lying down on a stunt pad as the other one was coming in to take over. We were basically doing tag team wrestling with these damn things for months but it created such a camaraderie. I would go up to Oakley [Lehman, a stunt double], for instance, and be, like, "Dude, what do you need?" and he'd go, "God, I wouldn’t mind a double espresso and some Advil. Can you get it?" And then the next time I'd see him he'd just come over with, like, a Starbucks and some Aleve or whatever, and so we all kind of went into it.

You really invested in this role and character. Any specific times when this hit you the most?
I went to the set one day and there were these two kind of very retro-looking robots and I was, like, "Why the hell are these here? Why would Tony Stark have robots that don't do anything?" So that was my first reaction. But I thought, "Wait a minute. These should be, like, the first two robots he ever built. And he's a little bit sentimental so he can't get rid of them, but he doesn't like them. So he calls one of them, "You," as in, "Hey, You!" and the other one, who's not as good as "You," he gives the name "Dummy." So part of this character is that he tends to get along with machines better than people and he doesn't even like the machines so what does that say about him?
Tony Stark and Jim Rhodes have a tight bond in the comics. How did that camaraderie carry over to your rapport with Terrence Howard who plays that character?
Well, Terrence Howard is a phenomenal guy. Very, very educated guy and a very centered guy. So we got along literally like brothers. Also, if there's someone else I had to say on the talent side who was most responsible for me getting the part besides Jon [Favreau], it would be Terrence. He was signed on before me and he really, really pushed for me. It meant a lot to me.

You guys worked out together, right?
Yeah. One morning [when] it was still dark out, we were in Lone Pine [California] in the high Sierras and he goes, "Hey, man, let's go for a jog!" We went out jogging and we jogged so far in such a small amount of time—without stretching, that the next night when we were having a steak dinner at one of the two and a half restaurants in town, we just looked at each other and I was, like, "Dude, we should have stretched" and he was, like, "Aw, dude…" Then we had to go do some action scene in the desert the next day. Yeah, I don't want to say we trained together so much as we over-trained together in a very short amount of time.

William Hurt, who plays General Ross in "The Incredible Hulk," has talked about the scene that you did with him as Tony Stark for that film. How weird was it to be performing as your character in another film?
It was a bit odd but I got to go and spend an afternoon with William Hurt and their director Louis Leterrier. And by the way, we weren't doing it because we felt like we'd like to work on a day off, we were doing it because we hoped that the fans would enjoy it. That's been the other cool thing about doing movies like this—everybody knows that the onus is on us to please the people who've put these characters in a position to maybe be a franchise film.

In this scene, have you "become" Iron Man at that point?
I have become Iron Man and I believe that's about all I’m allowed to legally state.

But are you excited by the idea of this cross-pollinating universe that could actually result in a film with you, Ed Norton and others?
Yeah. I mean, look, it's hard enough to get one of us schmucks on the phone for 15 minutes so it would be a pretty huge undertaking, but where there's a desire there's a way.

To go back to when you first got this role, since Iron Man isn't as well known as, say, Spider-Man or the Hulk, did anybody think you were going to be starring in a movie about a tri-athlete?
[Laughs] That's a funny thing because for a while, I'd go online and punch in "Iron Man" and it says, like, "Ironman training socks," "Ironman post-workout supplements…" and I'd be like, "Damn, they stole our gig! We should sue them!"

So, in general were non-comics fans confused regarding the role you had taken on?
A couple of people would be, like, "Who’s that?" And I'm, like, basically sleepless I'm so excited, so they weren't gonna piss in my cornflakes. Much more often, I would have educated women or, like, entertainment lawyers literally charging across the room at me in an event to go, "Dude, did you know that in issue #417 that Tony Stark actually traveled back in time and that was his own son but it wasn't his son, it was him, and then he came back and that's how..." Or someone else would be, like, "Wow, so you actually get to play the only superhero who was ever too drunk to use the suit?" And I was, like, "Uh, let me look into that. Thanks!" Oftentimes, more than anything, I think people were just very happy for me. It was a really big deal for Team Downey. I just kind of looked at Jon [Favreau] and the fellows and said, "You know, I'm going to earn this. I'm going make you glad that you gave me this shot."

It seems like it's been a while since public perception was focused on just your troubled past. But when did you feel that you took that corner for yourself?
The thing to me is I just stopped concentrating on the things that I used to think were fun and cool and started going for the things that I knew I'd always missed out on. And it's a really simple equation, you know? I got in shape. I got my head screwed on straight. I married a great gal and I just started working for the sake of working and getting back to what I’d wanted to do since I was in my late teens. So ultimately, it comes down to love of the game. And I never lost the love of the game. I just forgot what was important to me.

All things considered, what does it mean then when ShoWest, the event for movie theater owners and film distributors, named you "Male Star of the Year" for 2008?
It's cool, dude. Like, hell yeah! I also figure, over the last 25 years, pretty much everyone else I know has gotten one so maybe everyone's turn comes up at some point ... or sadly, sometimes a person's turn is never going to come up. And that's on them. All you can do is be ready to play.

Considering that arguably 20 years from now people will still be asking you about Iron Man, and here you are in the middle of it when things are about to ignite, how do you think you're going to look back at this time?
I'm going to look back on this as really the beginning of the second chapter of my life as a husband, father, son and actor. I have a feeling at that point I'll probably have tried to parlay this into being able to be behind the scenes a little more and I have a lot of ideas and I write and I'd like to direct even though it’s a really tough job. But I'd like to look back on this time as a time [when] our hearts were in the right place. That's what I would like.

Lastly, on the trivial side, we have to know—are you now on Marvel's comp list for the free comics each month?
Dude, I told them, any and everything that they could imagine I would enjoy.

Have you been getting them yet?
Not just yet. They're still probably waiting for the first weekend's grosses. [Laughs]
These guys seem to be ticking all the right buttons and treating the franchise with some respect. I hope all their hardwork pays off and i hope the non-origin plot and stane are strong enough to carry a film.

a superhero is only as good as his nemesis
Finally. It's confirmed that he's in The Incredible Hulk, or that he's at the very least filmed a scene.
It was confirmed bu Hurt a week or so ago, still I am very excited to see it.
shweet read to say the least....more and more downey impresses me with these interviews :D
Downey is the man. I'm really glad he got his mojo back. This will be his trademark movie if the movie is good.
I personally think Robert Downey Jr. looks dead sexy in this movie. If anything this is what you fanboys can use as a ploy to get your uninitiated girlfriends to see this movie. And yes, it is good to see that he was able to tackle his demons and not become just another Hollywood statistic. Here's hoping Ironman is the roll that turns it all around for him.

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