Kevin Feige Comic Con Interview – IRON MAN

     July 31, 2007

Often times when you participate in a roundtable interview you’re lucky to get in two questions during the Q&A. That’s why certain outlets skip roundtable interviews and why it can be frustrating waiting for your turn to ask a question.

But a very weird thing happened during my roundtable interview with Kevin Feige (the President of Production at Marvel) at Comic-Con. I asked almost all the questions.

You see when the interview started I had a lot to ask…so I dug in and hit him with a question barrage. After awhile I realized that I was being an a-hole and I wasn’t allowing anyone else to get in a word edgewise. But when I went to apologize to the table…. they all said continue with the questions as they thought I was doing a great job.

So while I did this as a roundtable interview, if you listen to the audio you’ll hear it was mostly me, and if you’re a fan of Marvel Superhero movies and are curious what’s going on with their future properties, you’ll love this interview.

The one highlight that you should know immediately is Kevin backed off his previous statements that “Captain America” would definitely be the next Marvel movie to move forward.

He also said during the interview “whatever ends up being the 2009 movies” meaning their will be two big Marvel movies for release in 2009! As a big Superhero fan, that’s great news to me.

As you’ll read below, Kevin gives an update on almost everything and I’m confident you’ll really love this interview.

As always, you can either read or listen to the audio of the interview by clicking here. It’s an MP3 and easily placed on a portable player.

And with that…. Here’s Kevin.

Question: So how does it feel to hit that home run at Comic Con?

Kevin Feige: Well, if it was a home run then it feels pretty good. You guys are the judge of that. I think it went well. I think Hulk went really well and I think Iron Man went off the charts.

I know this is primarily for Iron Man but I’d like to ask a quick Hulk question. Could you talk about when did you talk to Edward Norton about him writing the project? When did that all come together?

You know, it was one in the same as we were talking to him about the character in general, about the franchise in general and of course about him playing Bruce Banner and we started talking about it and he responded to the draft and we started talking about how to do another movie and why to do another movie and we were like dude, you’re pretty smart about this stuff. He offered and we were extremely enthusiastic about taking him up on that offer. He did it in about what was it—4 or 5 weeks. And of course, as every movie, it continues to tweak so he goes from the set to the trailer, back to the set and he’s pretty tired which is why I’m excited that he was willing to come down here. You saw Louie’s toe which he literally smashed on the set while showing how he wanted the Hulk to act and he busted his toe right up but they got on that plane and they got no sleep at all but I was glad they made it.

So, can you talk about—what have you seen for Iron Man? Have you seen the rough assembly?

No, Jon just saw it. You know, directors get their 10 week cut. He’s only about 2 weeks into it so he just saw it and he filled us in on how he’s feeling about it. He’s feeling pretty good. I think he mentioned that on the panel today and we’ll start to see things. You know these giant movies there’s lots of turnovers. You have to start turning sequences over to get in the visual effects pipeline, so that’s all just beginning now.

And I want to ask before we get into another Iron Man thing… Can you talk about as being very involved with Marvel, can you talk about what projects are also on the horizon? I mean is Captain America still the next one?

I don’t want to say exactly what the next one is. That as you can imagine has to do with the script that comes in and a filmmaker that’s interested and an actor and there all pieces that need to come together. But Captain America and Thor and Ant Man are all on the docket and all under development.

Let’s go a little farther with Ant Man. Is Edgar Wright still attached to that?

Oh yes. I had breakfast with him this morning.

And can you give us any update about what he might have said or what you guys were thinking?

He was pitching me all sorts of scenes that were hilarious and that were very cool and I think it’s going to be something unexpected from him and from us which is going to be a great combination.

Have you already started this…has he started thinking about casting or some of these other projects?

You know, we’re really just continuing to talk about the story and the script which is going to be coming in later this summer. He’s as you well know been doing press on his movie…seems like he’s been doing press longer than it took him to make the movie.

You’re not done yet with shooting Iron Man?

Iron Man is done shooting. Iron Man is all finished. We finished about a month ago.

So why Robert Downey?

Downey frankly is one of the best actors we’ve ever worked with. I think is one of the best actors of our time.

That’s usually not a requirement for a comic book movie.

It is. I think you look at the way we cast our movies for the most part and that is the requirement. The main requirement. Much more so than box office performance or whatever the popularity of their last movie. It’s whether they’ve been in a movie before, never been in a movie or been in some movies or been in a lot of movies. It’s about connecting with the character and it’s about making the best casting choice possible. As Jon had alluded to, Tony Stark is an interesting character because he’s got a lot of attributes that may not be the most likeable. He’s extremely wealthy. He’s extremely successful. He’s extremely smart. He can be cocky and we needed somebody who could embody that but still be charming and still be likeable and I think that’s what Downey is.

I wanted to go onto another thing of course. With future Marvel properties, is there ever any thought to doing a lower budget R rated Marvel property? Because generally the super hero genre has been PG and PG-13 and you know Watchman is going to be rated R so…?

Well, the Blade franchise was R. Punisher was R. We’ll do another Punisher that’s R.

I wanted to know about not the stuff that’s already…..

Other than those? Absolutely open to it. I mean, clearly with Iron Man, with Hulk with whatever ends up being the 2009 movies it’s these big temple franchises that we’re continuing to do. If we’re successful with that on our own, then I’d absolutely want to do that. Maybe do a sub-label in which we do films like that.

Do other filmmakers come to you or how does it work with you in attaching film makers to properties?

It varies. Sometimes we go to the film maker and introduce them for the first time to a character…to a property. They respond to it and we get it going in a conversation. Sometimes they come to us with a passion, with a lifelong love of the character. It really varies.

I mean do you think with Edward Norton stepping in. I mean, he’s really….and Robert Downey, Jr. also. You’ve landed 2 huge actors, is there a dream actor that you’re thinking about trying to get?

You know there are a few but we’ll see. We can’t talk about it until we land them. We’re not in discussions with anyone on any future things yet.

Ok so basically the future properties you have are going to be more PG, PG-13?

They will continue to be the PG-13 realm. Knowing we have a lot of great characters, a lot of dark characters that would work extremely well in the R-rated world and we’ll look at those down the line.

Actually I’ve got one about how faithful will the Iron Man character be in the movie to the comic?

I think people are going to find that’s its very faithful to the comic. I’m pretty proud that we’ve done a version of the origin story. There were a lot of scripts that had been developed over the years. I’m sure you all know that there were a lot of writers and a lot of incarnations over the past 10 years. All of them, you know, had some strengths and some weaknesses but none of them were as true as we’re being right now, just because it was really something that when we sat down with Jon that we connected to. The truth is as Stan Lee who made a surprise appearance today which was very cool mentioned, he put him right into the present day conflict of Vietnam at the time. While we don’t necessarily define exactly it’s certainly made sense to update it in the Middle East.

So can we touch on the Punisher 2 and how involved are you with Punisher 2?

We’re producers.

Are you knee deep in it or are you sort of on the outside.

Well, it’s just beginning. It’s just beginning so I’m ankle deep in it.

Ok, because I heard that Ray Stevenson has been cast… the guy from Rome.

I don’t think there’s been any announcements yet on casts.

On Punisher?

Yeah, no announcements yet on casts or directors.

Oh, maybe that was a rumor.


Can you talk about the casting of Gwyneth Paltrow for this film?

Gwyneth was…you know it came together very quickly. She found out about the film. She found out that Robert was doing it, that Jon was directing it and frankly I think her agents were familiar with the property and obviously with Marvel and on a Friday I got a call saying she was interested and I didn’t believe the agent. I said I don’t have time to do a dance, we need to cast somebody. He said no, no we think we can make this happen and we worked all weekend and she was in the movie on Monday.

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