Not long ago we attended the press conference for Iron Man 2, which was basically Robert Downey Jr.‘s chance to show off a unique hybrid between himself and Tony Stark. Not only did he dominate the stage, the questions, and everyone elses answers, but at one point he literally “held” the press conference together – but more on that below. In attendance along with Downey was the director Jon Favreau, writer Justin Theroux, producer Kevin Peige and cast members Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, and Don Cheadle (sadly no Sam Rockwell who absolutely rocked the film).
There’s no doubt that Downey is as entertaining in person as he is on screen. He’s smart, clever, scolds bad journalists in a professional and yet witty way. And although he’s jovial he in no way takes what he does for granted and you can tell that he works very hard at what he does and knows how to give one hell of a sound bite. For instance…
Question: Robert, did you dress up as a superhero as a kid for Halloween?
Downey: Growing up, no, but in my mid-thirties in Palm Springs right before an arrest, yes. Underwear Man. It was a premonition.
And of course the telling off of the journalist…
Question: This is a little off topic. Robert, are you going to be the Vampire Lestat?
Downey: Yeah. I mean anything that’s going on, just imagine that it’s been offered to me. I like that you’re imagining that we’ve been on topic so far.
Jon Faverau comes off almost exactly opposite of Downey, he’s much more humble and sweet with long detailed answers about the process of film-making. He seems like he hasn’t let any of this go to his head and really cares about what his fans think of his work.
Question: There was a lot of improv in the making of the first Iron Man. How much of the original script are we seeing onscreen? And how much of it is the entire group coming together and making things up as they go?
Favreau: The story was very well fleshed out… We leave a lot of room in those scenes and try to do multiple cameras sometimes or stay up and rewrite. Justin, he 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 that you see up here 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.
One of the best parts of the press conference was the banter between Downey and Favreau…
Question: Jon, I noticed your cameo from the first movie definitely got more fleshed out. Why did you decide to join in on the action yourself? Robert, I noticed your wife’s name was in the credits as a producer when she wasn’t on the last film. What did that mean for you?
Favreau: Sure. Do you mind if we swap questions? He’ll talk about Happy Hogan and I’ll talk about Susan Downey? Susan is a great producer. It’s not like she came onboard and became a producer because we’re making ‘Iron Man’. Quite the contrary. We were funneling towards a start date and we had a lot of ideas spread out and… she has tremendous organizational ability and she understands Robert’s creative process, understands the first movie and lived through it with us.
Downey: 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 — power hungry. Let’s talk about Happy Hogan. There’s three Happy Hogan’s in the movie. There’s the Jon Favreau that’s in actually 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. It was originally a longer scene and maybe he was just too emasculated to let it be in the movie, (to Scarlett) but I think you laid the boots to him quite severely….
Favreau: Yes. He’s on a run, let him go.
Downey: Then about midway he’s struggling with the meta-fast but occasionally binge-eating on pizza and then saying, ‘This is crazy. I have to get back in the gym -’
Favreau: Can I have my question back?
Downey: By the time we were doing re-shoots they were framing him out of shots. Here’s the thing though, this is one of the things that I love about you.
Favreau: Oh, here we go now.
Downey: You know what, I don’t even have the up beat part. I forgot it.
Sadly, the two lovely ladies barely got to say much, you can check out our Scarlett Johansson interview for more from her.
Paltrow and Downey did have something interesting to say about the tension and kiss between them…
Question: There’s a real ‘Moonlighting’ thing going on with your two characters in this film, but the kiss was highly anticipated. How it was finally having that onscreen kiss?
Downey: I couldn’t get her off me. It was embarrassing.
Paltrow: It was great because both my husband and his wife were right there.
Downey: Yeah. She said to me that I didn’t know what I was doing, like it didn’t feel good and I’m like, ‘You know what, first of all, we’re all friends so what would be creepy is if I was coming off all sexy to you,’ and by the way I’ve done that in movies and it creeps them out!
***END OF SPOILER****
Don Cheadle was only asked the mundane “so what was it like taking over the role from Terrance Howard” question and Mickey Rourke although asked questions, didn’t really give any answers. You try asking an intimidating brick wall a question when it doesn’t want to talk, it’s not easy! Nor productive.
Sadly, the hour that we were supposed to have with the bunch quickly got cut short because a poster fell behind the actors and apparently we can’t ask questions without an image behind them. Although Downey quickly ran to pick it up, wrap it around himself and point to the people on the poster who were answering question, the press conference was quickly shut down. You can see everything up until “the banner falling catastrophe” in the video below but if you want to hear the full shenanigans listen to the audio below the video…
Iron Man 2 will be in theaters this Friday May 7th! Don’t miss is!