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Robert Downey Jr on Iron Man 2

Published August 19, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Pictures
Iron Man 2 Iron Man 2

Iron Man established the origin of Tony Stark’s superhero persona for the movie world. It was updated to the war on terror, but it culminated with Stark declaring to the world, “I am Iron Man.” So where is there to go for an encore?

Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man 2

“Usually the origin story is the most interesting story because you get to see someone becoming who we love them once they are,” said star Robert Downey Jr. “So, again, we just upped the stakes. He has to deal with things that are more immediate than his personal survival. He has to deal with things that are beyond the realm of easy understanding even for someone as bright as he is. Those were all there and so we didn't have to reach for or create anything. It's kind of like you can't tell a story any better than the way that it really happened. So we just started looking back at the stories and kind of did an amalgam of those and we didn't take ourselves seriously at all. But we took the storytelling really, really seriously.”

The epilogue of Iron Man opened even more possibilities for Iron Man 2, with Nick Fury coming to speak with Stark about a new SHIELD project. “At a certain point, probably in act one or two, Tony is approached by Nick Fury who is wondering what it's like for him to not have any back up. Rhodey's thing has always been, like, ‘Hey, come try to work with us.’ We see that he's under pressure from the senate to essentially turn over the weapon that he designed when he was under contract to them. But the truth is that he didn't design it for a government contract. He designed it to save his own life. So he has an argument there. We were not just reminding ourselves of the obvious but trying to think about if this were really happening, what would be the most interesting and entertaining and honest way to move forward. We took the risk of exploring, that basically Tony goes on a much more perilous journey this time than he did when all he had to do was save his own ass.”

Iron Man 2 Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 Iron Man 2

The Samuel L. Jackson cameo was more than just an easter egg to Downey. It really pays off in the sequel. “A big through line for this has to do with what did after the credits last time, when Nick Fury comes in and says, ‘You’re part of something bigger than you know.’ Jon [Favreau] and I are both big Hero’s Journey and Joseph Campbell fans. Pretty much everyone is. But, there is something to be said about legacy and there’s something that’s missing in him. And, obviously, what’s kept him alive is a miniaturized version of something his father created, but things aren’t always as they seem and someone arrives on the scene. To me, this film really is about Tony’s secret journey into his deepest fears, his sense of obligation, his sense of legacy with his father, a sense of brotherhood with Rhodey and his ongoing deep love and respect for Pepper.”

The budding romance between Stark and Pepper Potts will only get complicated when superheroine Black Widow enters Tony’s world.

“We essentially started off saying it’s a love triangle, and then we realized that love triangle is done in these superhero movies all the time. What we wanted to do was something just a little bit freakier than that, and I believe we have succeeded. Black Widow is a great character because she is not what she appears to be. It was a great opportunity. I don’t even know if it’s so much a love triangle. Pepper is exactly what she appears to be, except there’s a lot more going on under the surface, and that’s brought to bear, this time.

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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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Paramount Pictures

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