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Jon Favreau Talks Iron Man Action

Published April 28, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Pictures
Iron Man Poster Iron Man
Jon Favreau is making a name for himself as a director, with the indie success Made and the monster blockbuster Elf. Even with the underperforming Zathura, he is not known for action. Iron Man is his first foray into big, epic battles.

Iron Man Action


"As far as the technology that you use, we really have all the options," said Favreau. "We have ILM, and after seeing the last Pirates movie I really feel quite comfortable that they can make it look good. And then you have the Stan Winston suit to help make it feel real and connect things. I think you’ve got to do a little bit of a shell game with the audience, of showing real for one shot, fake another shot, and not let them know where one shot becomes real and digital until their left brain is so locked up worrying about it that their right brain can enjoy the movie. I think you always have to look for fancy things to do, I think you have to be innovative in the action. There are a lot of movie’s I’ve seen and enjoyed where I couldn’t follow the story, and didn’t give a damn about the story, but because the action was so innovative, it entertained me and I was excited by it. And honestly, these types of films you’re working on the action long before you’re working on the dialogue, you’re working with storyboard artists, with writers, with actors, producers, studios."

With a competent team in place, the most challenging sequences for Favreau involved location shooting. "We were at Edwards Air Force Base. We had the great C17s and the Raptors and all the stuff. Rhodi, we made him an Air Force Lt. Colonel, took a little bit of a leap there, but the logistics of that were very hard because there's a lot of things you can't point a camera at there. There's a flight line and they're testing the state of the art experimental aircraft there. We're thinking we've got the best stuff. I mean, there are hangars there that you cannot go near that I'm sure they have stuff that they're flying around now."



As an action newbie, Favreau relied on his limited experience on sets and extrapolating stories from the experts. "More from Kevin Fiege who has been around for all the X-Men movies and now he’s President of Production here. He’s really good at like, ‘This is what happens now.’ I’ve been to the set visiting Sam Raimi on Spider-Man 3 and seeing certain things go so slow, because they have to, and certain things go really fast. But not getting freaked out when you have 400 people sitting around waiting for one guy to hang a light. Coming from independent films, knowing how to pace it and do it, because being on budget, being on times, I've figured out how to do it. This movie, I don’t think I’ve ever been on sets like this. I was a small part in Batman Forever, and I saw the Batcave and all that stuff was really cool, but Daredevil wasn’t on this scale, nothing I’ve been on has been of this scale. So just to walk around it, see a set, turn to Peter Billingsly and go, 'What are we shooting there? What set is that?' 'Oh, that's the airplane.' 'Oh, that's right.' I don't even know what's going on. I take people walk around and show them around, but it feels like the first time I'm seeing it sometimes."

The Iron Man suit itself, the centerpiece of most of the film's action, came from a collaboration between artists. "We got some artists that we hired to work on it, Phil Saunders, Ryan Meinerding, who worked on various suits that we had, they’re people that I’d met, Phil on Zathura, Ryan as I was developing John Carter of Mars. They’re great artists and they have a whole department overseen by Mike Riva, who’s our production designer. I really gravitated to the Adi Granov stuff. Adi had actually contacted me through My Space, because I’d set up a group, actually even before the group I just put my thing up, he contacted me to be my friend. He said, 'I thought you might want to meet me, I did all the drawings that you have on your website.' I said, 'Oh, I’d love to talk with you.' And then he was really excited to get involved. We hired him to do some drawings for us, we flew him out here, he met with Phil and Ryan and Mike and Stan Winston’s crew and we all sort of collaborated together in finding a suit that could be made practically to be worn so that it wasn’t always a cartoon, and also when you have practical things it tends to keep the CG a little more honest, because you if you have to make a direct cut from a practical suit that you love how it looks to something virtual, you now have a Litmus test."

Iron Man opens to theaters on May 2nd.

For the posters, trailers, stills and latest headlines, go to the Iron Man Movie Page.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Paramount Pictures
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