By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Pictures
Iron Man 2
Sequels always try to be bigger and better, not always to the benefit of the continuing story. Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau is sensitive to that. He had to add characters like Whiplash, Justin Hammer and Black Widow to the story without watering down the returning characters.
Jon Favreau Talks Iron Man 2
“The trick is to feather them in so they don’t overwhelm the story and you don’t suffer from villainitis,” Favreau said. “So by having Justin Hammer and Mickey Rourke’s characters come together fairly early, you really have two storylines that are weaving. You don’t have five separate storylines. It’s the same thing with Scarlett as Black Widow, working her way into Gwyneth and Robert’s story. So we really tried to keep narrative flows going so that we didn’t get too convoluted.”
Favreau knows as well as anybody what it’s like when movies overdo it. “I lose track of that stuff. Especially in sequels as the franchises get more complex, I don’t always remember what happened in the last movie. Not for nothing, I like to watch the stuff blow up, but I’m not going to do homework before I see a sequel to be up on everything. So we tried to keep that simple. And Justin Hammer, Sam Rockwell was somebody that I had known and I thought would work really well with Mickey. He doesn’t get intimidated by talented performers and movie stars. He’s done a great job with a lot of people.”
There are lots of expectations for Iron Man 2, but to Favreau that’s nothing compared to the indie films he used to make. “Fr me there wasn’t the same pressure that you’re used to feeling, especially coming up with smaller movies where you’re throwing a party and you don’t know if people are going to show up. Here, we knew people were going to show up. We just wanted to make sure everybody who showed up had a good time, and this was going to be as or more fun than the last party. So different kind of pressure.”
The sequel continues the working aesthetic of Iron Man where Favreau allowed the lead actors to improvise on the set. “The story is very well fleshed-out. The actual what has to happen in each scene, we understand. We leave a lot of room within those scenes and try to do multiple cameras sometimes, or stay up and rewrite. We learned things from each scene that we shoot. We tried to shoot pretty much in order, and what’s nice about having the actors [in this cast] is 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 of the high technology and the explosions. So if they have an issue with something we’re asking the character to do for the story, we discuss it and we figure out a way so that it can work for them as a performer and also for the movie.”