Would you believe the footage director Jon Favreau world premiered at Comic-Con this weekend wasn’t finished? Trust me, if you saw how amazing War Machine and Whiplash looked, you’d think the movie was ready to come out next week. Unfortunately, we’ve got almost a year before the sequel to “Iron Man” arrives in theaters. The only consolation is…shortly after premiering the footage to the ecstatic Comic-Con crowd, Jon did some press and I was able to participate in one of the roundtable interviews. Thankfully, it was a intimate setting and Jon answered tons of questions about the film.
If you’re anxiously awaiting “Iron Man 2″, you’re going to want to read this interview. Take a look after the jump.
As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here.
Favreau: Oh, thanks. It was tough walking into that room after what happened last time and hoping that they would like and be as enthusiastic about what we brought this time because we came out of nowhere. Now everybody saw what we did last time and you can only have that first time once. So it was really a matter of saying, ‘Hey, we’re still here. Thank you for putting us on the map. Here’s what we’re thinking. Here’s who we got. Here are our new additions.’ It’s like when you ask your fiancé’s father if you can marry his daughter. Sometimes it’s just the formality of doing it and coming here first is like saying, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing, but we want you to know first and see it.’ We owe a lot to these people. I think that we have a relationship now more than having to prove anything, but it’s like, ‘We hope you like what it is and I’m sure that I’ll hear it if you don’t.’
Twitter exploded for War Machine.
Favreau: Well, that was the big thing, up to a few weeks ago we thought that Black Widow was going to be the thing that we’d show off because the jury was out on Scarlett [Johansson] for a while. There were some rumors about who we were going to cast and if it was going to workout with this one or that one, and then when cast Scarlett and a lot of people were like, ‘Really? Her hair’s wrong. She’s not the right build.’ Then she transformed herself. I mean, she really did the work. When those pictures came out online everyone was like, ‘Wow.’ Then it was like that’s not the big one. Then with Whiplash we wanted to show a little bit more of what we’re doing with the technology of that character and explain how it fits into the story. But the big thing that we hadn’t shown at all was War Machine, especially with the re-cast of that character. I think it was important for us to really stick it with that one and say, ‘Hey, guys, here’s our guy. Here’s what he does and this is where we’re going with it.’ I’m glad it was received well.
You mentioned on the panel that in the footage this was the first attempt at the Whiplash technology. So are we going to see a more advanced form of that in the movie?
Favreau: Well, look, the thing that you have to do is mix things up enough that if you read the books you kind of know what’s happening but change it up a little bit so that you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. We want to use and unify the technology of what’s going on with Iron Man and what’s going on with Whiplash and where that’s leading and who’s the character and what’s his name and how this all works together. Not to blow too much, but when he builds what you saw, a little bit of that footage in Hall H; when he’s building Whiplash it’s mirroring in a lot of ways the assembly of the Mach I armor. Except that it’s under different circumstances. So it’s almost like the shadow version of Tony Stark coming from a different place and going through a similar journey as him. You see it happens on the race track. The big thing was how to avoid all these people in armored suits fighting people in armored suits because you don’t want Rock’em Socke’em Robots the whole time and how to use different settings and that sort of old ‘James Bond’ of my childhood sense that you live on the world stage and larger than life. That’s Tony Stark. Then how to work that around a superhero story and battles and set pieces and how to do things that you haven’t seen before because, my God, there are so many superhero movies now. I look at ‘GI Joe’ and we can’t do that again because they’re doing it. So it’s like how do you stay unique and inspired.
Can you talk about the design of War Machine? We saw in the footage three guns. Will there be other weapons that might be included?
Favreau: Well, we like to throw the kitchen sink at it. The thing that’s fun about War Machine is that it’s over the top. It’s like when Travis Bickle buys the guns in ‘Taxi Driver’, you know some shit is going to go down at the end of that movie. So, Iron Man is the sleek and elegant version where everything is contained under the air-frame and War Machine is the over the top, everything hanging out. Some people like chocolate. Some people like vanilla. Some people like chunky peanut butter. Some people like smooth peanut butter. It creates a little bit of a rivalry between the two of them in that respect. So we use guns. There’s lots of gun porn in this movie, lets put it that way, and it’s not just with that character. There’s a lot. We’re living in that world and it’s the extreme version of the military industrial complex. That’s the pool that we spawn from. So there will be a lot of that fun stuff.
Can you talk about the writing process on this one as opposed to the last one?
Favreau: Well, the writing process on this is very unique. It’s not like when I wrote ‘Swingers’. I was on my computer and then it was in front of people and then we made it, cast it, got the money and shot it. You could look at that script and it’s pretty much what it was. This one the process began even before there was a writer. It tends to be the case with these types of movies, where it was Robert [Downey Jr.] and Kevin [Feige] and I, all of us talking about what interests us, where the character should go, where the journey should start. You begin to outline a basic storyline and then you start to break it down into scenes and set pieces because you have to start storyboarding those set pieces. So it’s like, ‘I want him to go to Monaco and I want him to do this. It’s six months after the first movie ends and he says, “I am Iron Man.” What’s the relationship like with Pepper and how has he grown and how has he devolved from the first film and what has this added pressure changed about him and what’s his arc going to be so it’s not just another episode of the film, of the same movie?’ So we arrive at all that and then we outline it and then we meet and story meet and then Justin [Theroux] comes on and we start breaking the scenes down, ‘This happens in this scene -‘ and then Justin, who has a pretty clear take on Robert’s voice from working on ‘Tropic Thunder’ with him starts working through a lot of that stuff and bringing in ideas of his own. But it’s a very collaborative process and often times we’re rewriting right up until, you know, right on the day that we’re shooting it we’re rewriting on it. The script wasn’t completely locked until we actually wrapped photography last week.
You also have the difficulty of trying to plan ahead for this character, too, right?
Favreau: Yeah, to some extent. To some extent it’s like you can’t. We know certain things that have to happen. We know that The Mandarin storyline is underneath it. So we maintain a consistency. We know how we want it to kind of end but really we’re tracking the character relationships more than anything. All kidding aside, it’s sort of like now I’m passing it to the next movie just we like we passed it to the next movie. When we had Nick Fury pop out or him saying, ‘I am Iron Man – ‘ we didn’t know any of this was going to happen and most of this movie dealt with those two events and that inspired us. So it’s a very fluid process and the actors are very involved. There’s a lot of improv but it’s all structured.
You’ve been Foggy and you’re Hogan.
Favreau: Yes. I’m the only person to be two different characters in the Marvel universe.
Who else are you going to be?
Favreau: I don’t know, man. I was talking to people about making ‘Conan’. It’s not Marvel. But, man. I’ll do it.
What’s going on with your mini-series?
Favreau: Oh, right. I got held up with a little thing called ‘Iron Man 2′ but I want to finish it. I started writing that before Captain America died. It changed my whole storyline. I wanted him and Captain America to go at it but then he died.