Robert Downey Jr. Comic Con Interview – IRON MAN

     July 31, 2007




Over the weekend I attended Comic-Con in San Diego and was able to interview a ton of people and see a lot of footage from upcoming movies. And while everyone has a favorite from the con, most I’ve spoken with seem to agree that “Iron Man” was the star of the show.


The reason? The amazing footage that was shown.



While many movies conducted panels and talked about stuff that’s in the far off future, “Iron Man” showed about four minutes of footage that brought the house down.



And while I posted a YouTube link last night to see what you missed, since then Paramount has pulled all the clips so you’ll have to wait to see the footage.



But while you may not have seen it, at least you can either read the roundtable interviews that I took part in on Saturday afternoon. All of them were great interviews and are worth reading.



So… this now brings up the interview with Robert Downey Jr.



During the roundtable interview Robert talks about playing Tony Stark and what it was like filming the movie. As always, you can either read the transcript below or download the audio of the interview as an MP3 by clicking here.



And with that… here’s Robert.





Question: So how have you been since some of us saw you?



Robert Downey Jr: What do you think?



I think you’re excellent, amazing and I think that you’re extremely happy right now.



Right. You make my job really easy.



Are you sad that the film has wrapped? Do you miss playing Tony?



I wouldn’t wish this on an enemy but I went right from this and 2 weeks later I was shooting in Hawaii with Ben Stiller and Jack Black. That is fantastic but wrapping something that was this epic and going into pre-production and make up tests and starting something so soon but the truth be told is it was ideal because the crash from this would have been so hard. I probably would’ve been in my head “I’m not Tony. Why can’t I be Tony again?”



What did you like about Tony so much?



What person are you talking in because honestly I got geared up again, I showed up today and this is a suit from the movie and I was kind of playing with my hair in the bathroom and Avi Arad walks in and the whole reason that there’s this studio to do this movie and I’m just with him in this big can and in the handicapped bathroom cleaning my boots and putting them back on and he came in and he’s like it’s going to be good on Thursday. It’s going to be good. We started talking about some other movies that a friend of his is doing that I should read. He’s going like I’d heard about people’s careers being enhanced, thwarted in convention room bathrooms but anyway so then I said back to business. I’ve got to get it up and they just unveiled the Mark I suit and I kind of was like overwhelmed and Favreau was all P.T. Barnum and he’s digging it. He’s been here for 3 days so he knows the drill. I just came in and I was like struck dumb. How do you get out of this—just go like this for 2 hours.



Can you talk about your experiences—have you been on the convention floor?



Never.



Can you talk about what it was like?



I will never. You know what it’s like. I mean, it’s massive. It’s a true democracy with a lot of chaos in there too. I mean, I get why it’s become so popular, not that it wasn’t popular before, but why it’s become so integral to marketing and approval and all that. It’s that thing. It’s like talking about surfing. How do you know until you paddle out and catch that first wave what it really feels like. It’s so energetic and wild and chaotic. I’m walking there with the Tony Stark suit with security guys like pushing baby carriages out of the way so I can get to my signing. Oh God.



Do you feel any extra pressure when you’re acting knowing that it’s a character that a lot of people love and you have to get it right?



I mean, there’s always that point in any process where you feel the pressure. That’s self-centered fear. In this case, I think I just became a geek for Iron Man myself. The added value is that I think I’ve got the chops to be able to pull it off. But they’re in pre-production and I’ve got an office in the production offices by where Howard Hughes assembled the Spruce Goose and there was a lot of energy there and I’d roam around from one thing to the next. I’d talk to the art department and I’d be like hanging with all these just monsters of cinema and effects and storytelling and cinematography and so I really soaked it up. I was just like what do I need to do and half the time I was like swilling creatine and working on my arms for those 11 seconds in the trailer where I’m like grrrrr. I will never be that muscular again.



What made you decide that you wanted to take this role?



I’m not a kid anymore externally and if you’re going to do something like this you want to do it while there’s a very low embarrassment factor age wise. Also, it’s Jon Favreau. That guy is a national treasure and to be able to do something like this with him and maybe have the opportunity to do it a couple more times—it’s a no brainer.



What about seeing your face on McDonald’s or Burger King and stuff like that? Are you ready for that too?



Yeah.



Are you going to have fun with that?



Sure. Why not? I want to be a Happy Meal. Scratch that—we’re with Burger King. I don’t even know what a Happy Meal is. That was a passive reference.



So now that you’ve played Iron Man do you feel stronger?



No I told you I was swoll up and now I’ve shrunk up again. It’s nice not to be carrying this extra pounds for me my arms being a like 1 centimeter bigger means I’m swoll up.



Any complaints with say the armor cause Michael Chiklas complained about wearing the same armor and did you sweat a lot?



We took turns complaining. There’s 2 other guys and I’d come in on the day he was shooting 2nd unit and he’d be like laid out in a pool of sweat and still like in half the suit and he’d be like dude you’re on tomorrow right? And I’d be like come on dude we’re going to do close ups and I’ll swing through the thing and he goes cool. Then he’d come in…we had like a support group. He’d come in the next and he’d hold my Iron Man hand and be like man can I get you something. Maybe an Advil. Then we’d both go visit the 3rd guy.



You’ve done so many big movies is there a chance you’d go back to small movies after that?



What? There are no small movies. After that trailer played the 1st time, I was so tripped out and excited and proud and just to get that reaction. I started off in theatre and that was kind of like putting a whole play of everything 400 people at the top of their field can do best and putting it all in this little package and playing it for thousands of people who get it and are really critical and understand really, really understand what makes things like that work or not. It was– I don’t know how to say it–it was the magic bullet, you know? Suffice to say.



Before you go could you just tell us about your part in Tropic Thunder?



I um…no. I’m going to stay on topic for a change, but that you for asking.



Which Tony Stark do you prefer? Ultimate or the old Tony Stark?



I’m a modernist but the origins are great. I’m an equal opportunity destroyer. (he holds up his hand) That’s not even my strong repulser hand.



Congratulations, it looks great.



Thank you.



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