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Jon Favreau on Iron Man 2

Published August 17, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Pictures
Iron Man 2 Iron Man 2

Jon Favreau is making the Marvel universe bigger in Iron Man 2. On top of the previously established Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and James Rhodes, Favreau’s bringing in Justin Hammer, Black Widow and Whiplash. He’s happy to push the limits of overdoing it, with the confidence that he won’t go too far.

Iron Man 2 Talk


“We had to walk a fine line,” Favreau said. “I think you’re good for number two. Two seems to be the charm because you got your origin story out of the way. You can add some complexity to it and you have room, because you don’t have to tell the origin story, to introduce the characters. When you get to number three, you can get hidebound. You’re like a beached whale sometimes because you have so much, you collapse under the weight of the complexity that you’ve created.”

Favreau said Iron Man 2 still works towards the Mandarin story, but takes its time easing towards a third film. “We’re not feeling any pressure right now to rush to the whole Mandarin sub-throughline. It’s still intact. We’re consistent with it. We know where it’s going but I think audiences are pretty sophisticated. I watched the whole first season of Lost and of Heroes not having to know every thing about what was going on but I felt there was a consistency to those worlds. So in this case, with Mickey [Rourke], we definitely did want to have an origin story because we wanted an origin story to shadow and mirror Tony because he’s introduced this technology into the world and how does that affect the world?”


Unfortunately, it sounds like there aren’t that many face-offs between powerhouse actors Rourke and Downey. “Mickey and Robert didn’t work together a lot and Robert had really gone out of his way to get Mickey involved. They were on the tour for the awards season last year together. They kept popping up at the same events because they were both nominated. So Mickey was definitely very, I think, appreciative that Robert fought so hard to get him, as did I. So off camera there was a lot of mutual respect and appreciation but of course on camera, they’re two strong forces that definitely squared off against one another. With Mickey Rourke, I didn’t want to just have two guys in robot suits hitting each other again. I wanted to have a different type of villain that used the same technology, existed within the same framework and rules of our world, but that was going to present not just a challenge physically but also in how dark he was and also how he’s related and how his fate and Tony’s fate are connected.”

Behind the scenes, Favreau brought some fresh blood to Iron Man 2 also, hiring Justin Theroux to write the sequel script. “I love the first two sets of writers that I had worked with. Robert had a very good relationship with Justin. We found somebody who can help bring a voice to him but the writing is such a collaborative process, it’s not like I wrote Swingers, we shot Swingers. This is like here’s the basic story. Here’s the basic scenes. Here’s the basic structure, here are the basic set pieces. Let’s start drawing and storyboarding these moments. Now, how do we connect all of this and then the last step is the actual writing of it. But I have the whole story in my head by the time the script actually emerges. He was rewriting the whole time and he shouldered a tremendous burden in conforming to what our new ideas were and then us giving him new ideas and then changing it, him doing it and then ultimately improvising oftentimes.”

Iron Man 2 opens to theaters on May 7, 2010.

For more movie info, go to the Iron Man 2 Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Paramount Pictures
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