Iron Man 2 Interviews from SDCC: Jon Favreau

Brent Sprecher talks to the cast of Iron Man 2 at the San Diego Comic-Con 2009! In this installment: Jon Favreau!

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By Brent Sprecher - 8/2/2009
Director Jon Favreau endeared himself to comic fans long before Iron Man debuted in theaters and proved he had respect for the source material because he took early footage and the cast to the Mecca of comic book fans, the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con. The teaser footage, played with Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" blasting in the background, was received with thunderous applause from the audience and the word got out from there that Iron Man was not going to be B-list, even if the character was perceived that way.

Two years and $585 million later, and Favreau returned to the Con with teaser footage of Iron Man 2 less like a conquering champion and more like a solicitous friend:

"It was tough walking into that room after what happened last time and hoping that they would, like, be as enthusiastic about what we brought this time because now--we came out of nowhere, y’know?--now everybody saw what we did last time and you can only do it the first time once. So, it was really a matter of saying hey, we’re still here, thank you for putting us on the map and here’s what we’re thinking. And, here’s who we got and here’s our new additions, we hope you--it's like when you ask your finance’s father if you can marry his daughter, you know--sometimes it’s just the formality of doing it and coming here first and saying, hey look, this is what we’re doing but we want you to know and see it and we owe a lot to these people and 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 I’ll hear it if you don’t.'"

Most people expected to see footage featuring Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, but she was barely featured. Favreau said that he had less to prove to the fans with her character, so Whiplash and War Machine were the focus:

"The jury was out on Scarlett for a while. You know there were some rumors about who we were going to cast and if it was going to work out with this one or that one and then we cast Scarlett and a lot of people were like, 'Really? Her hair's wrong, she's not the right build, she's not...' And, then she transformed herself and--I mean, she really did the work--and when those pictures came out online everybody was like, 'Wow.' So, I was like, 'Okay, that's not the big one,' you know? And, with Whiplash, we kind of 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 we hadn't shown at all was War Machine. And, especially with the recast 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.' And, I'm glad it was received well."

The teaser footage showed Mickey Rourke's character, Ivan Vanko, constructing a mechanized suit much in the same way that Tony Stark did in the first Iron Man, and Favreau said that there's a big reason for that:

"The thing you gotta do is mix things up enough so that if you read the books you kind of know what's happening, but change it up a little bit so you don't know exactly what's going to happen. We want to unify the technology of what's going on with Iron Man, what's going on with Whiplash, and, you know, where is that leading, who's the character, and what's his name and how does this all work together. Not to blow too much, when...he's building Whiplash, it's mirroring in a lot of ways the assembly of the Mark I armor. Except under different circumstances. And so it's almost like the shadow version of Tony Stark coming from a different place going through a similar journey as him.

The big thing was how do you avoid always people in armored suits fighting people in armored suits? You don’t want Rock'em Sock‘em Robots the whole time. And, how to use different settings and different, you know, that sorta old James Bond-of-my-childhood-sense of you live on the world stage, larger than life, I mean, that's Tony Stark.

My God, there are so many superhero movies now. And, you know, I look at G.I. Joe and we can't do that again because they're doing it. You know what I mean? It's, 'How do you stay unique and inspired?'"


The final few seconds of the teaser footage showed War Machine unloading molten hell on an unknown assailant. Favreau said the differences between Iron Man's armor and War Machine's armor is really just a matter of taste:

"The thing that’s fun about War Machine is it's over the top and it’s like you know when Travis Bickle buys the guns in Taxi Driver you know...you know some shit’s gonna go down at the end of that movie. And so, Iron Man is the sleek elegant version where everything is contained under the airframe and War Machine is, you know, the over-the-top, everything hangin’ out and… you know, some people like chocolate, some people like vanilla, you know. Some people like chunky peanut butter, some people like smooth peanut butter and 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.

Favreau also shed some insight on the process of making a film as expensive and complicated as Iron Man 2, from the perspective of a writer and director:

"Well, the writing process on this is very unique. You know, when I wrote Swingers, it was on my computer and then it was in front of people and we made it and cast it and got the money and shot it. And, you can look at that script and that'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 Robert (Downey Jr.) and I, Kevin (Feige, producer), all of us talking about what interests us. Where the character should go. Where the journey should start.

And, you begin to outline a basic storyline. And, then you start to break it down to scenes and set pieces--because you gotta start storyboarding those set pieces. And, so, I want him to go to Monaco and I want him to do this and it's six months after the first movie ends and "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 gonna be, so it's not just another episode of the film, of the same movie. And, so, we arrive at that, then we outline it, and we meet, and story meet and Justin (Theroux, screenwriter) comes on and then we start breaking the scenes down to, 'This happens in this scene,' and then Justin—who has got 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 ideas of his own. But, it's a very collaborative process and often times we're rewriting right up until...right on the day that we're shooting, we're rewriting. And, the script wasn't completely locked until we actually wrapped photography last week.

We know certain things that have to happen. We know 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."


I asked Favreau if he had any plans to play any other Marvel characters, since he's already been Foggy Nelson in Daredevil and Happy Hogan in Iron Man and he said:

"I'm the only person to be two different characters in Marvel movies. I don't know, man. I was talking to people making Conan. It's not Marvel, but I'll get on the juice, man. I'll do it."




Click HERE for an interview with Robert "Iron Man" Downey Jr.!







Click HERE for an interview with Sam "Justin Hammer" Rockwell!







Click HERE for an interview with Scarlett "Black Widow" Johansson!
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ub3r - 8/2/2009, 3:39 AM
sidenote: rock'em sock'em robot mayhem wouldn't hurt, as long as it comes in moderation. but hey, i guess overdosing isn't too bad either. it worked for transformers rotf. =P
Scorpioxfactor - 8/2/2009, 3:49 AM
Great Interview. John Favreau gave us alot of insight.
ToxinSuomi - 8/2/2009, 4:07 AM
Jon is not the only person to be in two Marvel movies.

Sam Elliot was The Caretaker in Ghost Rider and General Ross in Hulk.

Ryan Reynolds was Hannibal King in Blade Trinity and Wade Wilson in Wolverine.

Rebecca Romijn was Mystique in the X-Men films and played a character in The Punisher 2004.
Hawksblueyes - 8/2/2009, 8:02 AM
Stan Lee is in every one of them.
Batmanknight - 8/2/2009, 8:18 AM
Sounds like this movie is going to be bad ass. Close to The Dark Knight caliber. I hope it is so we can get Iron man 3 and the avengers
MY THOUGHTS\\KNIGHT'S OUT//NOT YOURS
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 9:33 AM
Why does everyone compare TDK with every comic book movie? Its wasn't the best ever movie made, very good but not the best, just coz it made sh!t loads of $$$$ doesn't make it the best, i prefer WATCHMEN!

Still their both DC/WARNER BROS so it really don't matter too much, after all like ive said WB/DC is gold!!!

I cant see IRONMAN being up to that caliber but it'll be a Awesome film nonetheless, i reckon AVENGERS is the only MARVEL movie that could come close to those big two! Though cant say too much about THOR and CAP till we get real news!

Love the interview! ; )

TEA @ I very much doubt they will change the formula, we'll still get our fun comic book movie dude!
FateSucks - 8/2/2009, 10:05 AM
I have to disagree with you Lee. Spiderman 2, was better than Watchmen. The first Iron Man was also better than Watchmen. I think that so far the gold standard for these films starts with the first two Spiderman films, the two Nolan Batman films, and Iron Man. I was a bit let down by Watchmen, the acting could have been better for some of the principal characters. If you open it up beyond the Super Hero genre, you have to add 300, A History of Violence, and Road to Perdition to the mix, in the Gold Standard.

Ultimately as long as they keep using Comics for source material, we have to keep spending our cold hard cash on seeing these films, so that they keep making them, even when we all know that the end result is going to be awful.
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 10:36 AM
FateSucks @ Different strokes man. Not everyone likes everything! But yeah i really love SPIDEY 2 too! ; )

FateSucks@ I take it you didn't like WOLVERINE then lol? Okay i wont go there, its Sunday! : D

TEA @ Yeah, i wouldn't say way down the list for TDK but it was overly hyped! Im not gonna complain about it coz i loved it and glad it made $$$$ it deserved it!
dellamorte1872 - 8/2/2009, 11:19 AM
i think TDK is good a bit over-rated...SPIDEY 2 is AMAZING, no pun intended
Paralyz3dxD - 8/2/2009, 11:32 AM
On the note of TDK, The Joker I think is the only thing that made that movie for me.. take out The Joker, and idk...
bsprecher - 8/2/2009, 11:34 AM
Okay, Okay, this is the part where I have to step in and say, "Let's think critically, guys." Exactly what makes The Dark Knight or Spider-Man 2 or Watchment a better movie? Is it the production values? Is it the SFX? Is it the acting? Is it the adherance to source material. Without explaining your position, it's just a popularity contest.

Also, what do you think about the underlying Mandarin storyline and the rumors that the Hulk is going to make an appearance?
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 11:56 AM
Brent @ I think underlying the Mandarin storyline is cool as for the HULK i dunno, if they use the HULK full blown in this we wont get him again like that in THE AVENGERS movie! Unless of course we're talking just Bruce Banner here or a cameo of the HULK? That would be better, but we should leave the HULK rage for AVENGERS!

As for WATCHMEN etc, their all the best movies in different way because they are all different if ya get what i mean lol! But you do win it abit more if you stay true to the source material.

But MARVEL are no way near a step up from DC as yet TEA, not by a long shot!
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 12:26 PM
OZY @ You ain't wrong there fella! Hell yeah!!! ; )

TEA @ Yeah i suppose, but im just glad WB have got their act together! An they will do the same with their DC movies, after all CLARK KENTS got a cameo in GREEN LANTERN as of right now anyway lol. I just hope they don't use HULK too much, that's what THE AVENGERS movies for! I want just a cameo myself, instead of rushing it!
bsprecher - 8/2/2009, 12:28 PM
@Ozy: Okay, but why? What makes them the "best" movies? I'm not disagreeing with you--I loved both of those movies--but tell me what criteria you're using.

I was impressed with how stylish, yet gritty Watchmen turned out to be, which I credit to Zack's unique visual style as a director.

The Dark Knight was epic for me because it's the closest thing to the comic book version of the character that I love portrayed in cinema. I mean, I loved Batman and Batman Returns when they came out, but I watch them now and they're about as corny and over-the-top as the old TV show was (which I also loved when I was a kid). Come on! Penguins with missiles? That's basically a bad joke in an Austin Powers movie, isn't it? Good stuff? Sure, anything Michael Keaton does is good, and Catwoman could easily inhabit Nolan's Batman Begins world, but even Jack looks foolish when compared against the emotionally-invested Joker that Leger brought to life.

However...teabag (I can't believe I have to call you that) has a point about Marvel Studios "getting it." That is, comic universes are shared universes and we all love a cross-over. How can Time/Warner/DC not see how important that is to the fans?

The problem that a T/W/DC cross-over film makes is the problem with Superman, in general. He's soooo powerful, that if he exists, there's really no reason for a Batman to exist. NO ONE writes Superman correctly (accept maybe Mark Waid in Kingdom Come and Grant Morrison in All-Star Superman) because it wouldn't be fun if they did. Superman could literally traverse the globe at near-light speed 24 hours a day, stopping (nearly) ever conceivable crime. There is no need for a Batman in a Superman world...
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 12:32 PM
Yeah well, everyone will havta get over that when they make a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie!!! ; D

TEABAG wouldn't be TEABAG without being TEABAG! Ok im lost too lol.
bsprecher - 8/2/2009, 12:41 PM
@LEEE777: The last thing I am is a "hater." In fact, I know few people who read as many comics as I do (over 100/month from multiple publishers) and I support any and all comic book-themed movies because I can clearly remember a day when there were none (or, at least, there was only the original Superman). I'm just saying that it's hard to work with a character like Kal becausse he's so damn awesome!

I would love nothing more than to see a Justice League movie...accept for maybe a Defenders movie. Come on, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Hulk, Hellcat and Gargoyle versus Terrax and Dormammu? Epic!!!!
Bijous - 8/2/2009, 12:46 PM
What's goin on here? This is supposed to be about Iron Man and Avengers, not the JLA and >gasp< the Defenders!!! j/k

I'll take any GOOD superhero movies! I'm just sayin...
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 12:52 PM
Brent @ Yeah i say that too, im glad the day of just waiting for a SUPERMAN or BATMAN are over, it really gets me when a lot of ppl on here moan about a comic book movie coming out before its even made. Like you i'll support any and all of them. I think we're spoiled a bit these days, though ain't gonna complain about that lol! Over 100 a month, geez that beats me heh heh. Yeah SUPES is Awesome, i really hope that news of him or as CLARK do have a cameo in GL!

DEFENDERS movie, now that would be something! I luv that team, EPIC is right!!! That would be so sweet! Hopefully when they get past AVENGERS movie MARVEL might think about making one! Though gotta get SURFER back dammit! Talkin' SURFER been no news on the FOX movie? Is it officially dead??
Bijous - 8/2/2009, 1:00 PM
When did they say Clark would be in GL? Do you have a link I can check out?
bsprecher - 8/2/2009, 1:09 PM
@LEEE777: Someone brought up Surfer during the Favreau interview and he almost choked laughing.

As far as Avengers goes, here's my take on the trilogy...

The first movie is going to have to involve Loki and the Hulk. The heroes are still relatively new and not used to having to work together, but they put their differences aside and save the day. For Avengers 2, they've become friends and are at the peak of their abilities. Which comes in handy when the Kree-Skrull war breaks out! In Avengers 3, we see them crumbling and falling apart, much in the same way that Brian Michael Bendis "disassembled" them years ago.

That leads to the second trilogy, in which the heroes come together a la New Avengers. By that time, Marvel will have bought back the rights to Wolverine and Spider-Man, so they can join the team!
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 1:09 PM
Its in one of the GL articles here, dunno what one @ BIJOUS @ It may be rumor but i doubt it, WB know's they have big competition, best ask CBM or brent for the link, it was a week or so ago!
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 1:13 PM
Brent @ If the AVENGERS movies go in that direction, i for one will be well happy!!! Like most, Very cool, that would be the Ultimate trilogy (Without the ULTIMATES of couse lol).

Hahahaha thats funny about the FAV interview lol! ; D

About the rights to with FOX and SONY, how does that all work? When do they end?? Or is it the case when they stop pumping out SPIDEY and X-movies etc?
bsprecher - 8/2/2009, 1:16 PM
Avengers 1

Avengers 2

Avengers 3

LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 1:18 PM
Now that would be EPIC!!! ; )
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 1:22 PM
Hey ya changed the to CLASSIC AVENGERS pic!!! Luv that pic!

imagine if AVENGERS movie poster copied Ross's painting!!!
Set2Fallfirst - 8/2/2009, 1:28 PM
@brent and Lee i agree lee different strokes for different folks thats what changes the world haha no pun intended but look I LOVE and i mean LOVED TDK because im one of the biggest batman fans in the world. I know his shoe size and height come on haha but another reason as an actor is becuase the acting was on point and i disagree with teabag it did bring the pages to life i felt like more of the TDKR and Hush feeling i got from that movie. the acting though was amazing from everyone one. the story was great and kept me on my toes. everyone embodied their character and i loved it. the shots were amazing and it was all subtle but extravagant at the same time. As for watchmen AMAZING thats what i call sticking to the source material acting amazing music was amazing it was great on all count and even though the graphic novel was made in the 80's and the movie was made now it showed me it was still ahead of our time. That movie is gonna be a cult classic and i am positive that in 20 yrs ppl will say how amazing it is and how it is perfect. that movie that graphic novel has so many levels and goes so many different directions that make sense u cant help but love it. i personally thing the ppl who dont like it are either confused and it went over their head or they look at it as something they thought would just be a good watch and not some complex movie about life andthe world in general
Set2Fallfirst - 8/2/2009, 1:28 PM
O yea Jason Lewis for cap! @ brent great job interviewing by the way : ]]
bsprecher - 8/2/2009, 1:31 PM
@Set2Fallfirt: Thanks, man! Good comments about TDK & WM!

@LEEE777: Yeah, just get Ross to do the movie poster!!!

They need to pick an actor to play Cap/Steve that is young because if they're going to use him in multiple projects, he can't appear to age.
Set2Fallfirst - 8/2/2009, 1:39 PM
Good point i would totally be cool for an unknown who was just an amazing actor cuz with cap i think its all about the acting.
dellamorte1872 - 8/2/2009, 1:39 PM
i get your point @BRENT and AVENGERS 1 i totally agree with but...AVENGERS 2 dont do the kree/skrull war its confusing and very sci-fi/space/off world. AVENGERS 2 needs ULTRON as the villian with HAWKEYE AND VISION debuting. AVENGERS 3 the villian should be KANG AND THEY COULD DO A TIME TRAVEL STORY. KANG could be trying to unravel the time stream making the AVENGERS not exist (think kinda the premise of THE STAR TREK REBOOT TIME-TRAVELLING). then while they are stuck in the past they could get assistance from FALCON who CAP knew in WWII or something. idk who else could be brought in organically to bolster the AVENGERS roster, maybe CAROL DANVERS/MS MARVEL
Set2Fallfirst - 8/2/2009, 1:41 PM
by the way i showed my grandma watchmen haha she LOVED it. She introduced me to comics first comic i ever read was issue 76 of the flash 1993 i think where the flash died and barry "let wally die". she said she never thought she would see a comic book movie so amazing so shes all about watchmen just thought id share that haha shes 73 im 20 that means a lot and i respect taht about her
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 1:56 PM
Set2Fallfirst @ LEWIS!!! Heh heh, ; D .... An i couldn't agree more with what you said above bud about WATCHMEN and the rest! I think too JOE PUBLIC have got to start seeing comic book movie arn't just for kids! There for us big kids too lol! ; )

Brent @ yeah that poster would be the nicest touch, a movie version of that! I friggin' hope and pray JAN & HANK are in it! ; )

An yeah id love a UNKNOWN for CAP! I wont say his name but i like alot do not want some c-grade movie actor that has a mediocre tv series playing the part an friggin' it up! If A-LIST (well, will be once CLASH & AVATAR are out), its gotta be like someone like WORTHINGTON! Up an coming star!!!

But id still love an UNKNOWN the most!
dellamorte1872 - 8/2/2009, 2:00 PM
WATCHMEN was decent dont get me wrong but there are at least 3 big changes i dont like, but it is deffinetly in my top 10 best comic movies
Set2Fallfirst - 8/2/2009, 2:18 PM
@ lee and Brent yea that poster would be bomb as the first avengers poster
LEEE777 - 8/2/2009, 3:40 PM
Damn it so would, wouldn't it!!!
bleedthefreak - 8/2/2009, 7:50 PM
why must every one compare every cbm to tdk. if there anything like that boring action less piece of shit i will flip. all you people do is bitch about how you want your movies straight from the comics and tdk strayed way to far from the comics, i don't remember batman being such a pussy. the closest we came to a joker fighting batman was right before we see the joker for the last time.

worst comic book movies ever:
1. TDK(sucked balls need i say more)
2. watchmen(to short and did not hold my attention like the novel)
3. hulk(ang lee screw you)
4 X3(had way more potential to not suck dick)
5 spiderman 3( its low on this list because raimi really wants to fix his mistakes that he owns up to

TDK just pisses me of yet i loved batman begins. Batman is a freakin ninja and and a better actor as a the bad guy(i like heath in the TDK which was one of the few things i did)
bleedthefreak - 8/2/2009, 7:55 PM
im gonna say it Daredevil for the win. screw all you affleck hating assholes saying he cant act. but screw every actor nobody could touch liev schrieber in wolvie. though everything else sucked about that movie. no ackles for cap. @LEE777 you are so right screw ackles he does suck i tried to watch something with him in it i slept within five minutes.
Cheesey1 - 8/2/2009, 8:21 PM
I agree with bag of tea, a good comic book film is one that brings the comic to life via the film medium. It's fine if there are some changes, but they have to maintain the tone and context of the comic. I think Marvel characters translate well to the big screen (when done properly) 'cause there has always been an element of realism e.g. Spider-Man's alter ego has the same problems as everybody else, Tony Stark has serious health problems etc... So, they can remain true to the comic, but won't seem cartoonish.
Cheesey1 - 8/3/2009, 8:13 AM
Bleedthefreak - I thought that the Directors Cut of DD was excellent. Much, much better than the PG version. The story flowed better, was more complete and was definitely DD's story. Still not a complet fan of Affleck as Murdock. He wasn't horrible, I just think that they could've done better.
SirJediFrank - 8/3/2009, 11:14 AM
a little off topic but anyone has seen The Ultimate Avengers 1 & 2 dvds?? are they worth-buying? cause they are kind of cheap in walmart.. should i buy both?

i already have the animated IM movie, so i only got the Dr Strange one..
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