FALLACES SUNT RERUM SPECIES
Favreau and Marvel Studios have been making dire plans about a sequel even before the first Iron Man came out. The director was sure that the movie would appeal to a wide audience, even though the armored superhero was a big unknown. In an interview with New York Post, Favreau said that he and Marvel “spoke creatively about what the first three movies would be. I think we're all into it and would love to do it together."
On the first movie’s red carpet in Los Angeles, Brad Rose, Robert Downey Jr.’s personal trainer revealed that he would start training with the actor after Downey’s break for shooting Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. They set the deadline in 5 months, suggesting a production date in early 2009. "It's one thing to say you're Iron Man, it's another thing to be fully ready to do that. I'm on Beefcake Charlie status. I've got to not be the skinny Brit anymore. I have to be the Tony that you know and may have loved," Downey Jr. said Entertainment Tonight.
A day after Iron Man’s premiere in the US, Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Gray told ET that, if the movie does well, Paramount would greenlight the sequel for May 7, 2010. On September 29 Paramount and Marvel Studios officially announced Iron Man 2.
The official confirmation of the sequel has started all sorts of rumors. For example, CinemaBlend reported that Samuel L. Jackson’s return to the role of Nick Fury. His storyline in IM2
would be much bigger than a cameo in an after credits scene and the director of SHIELD would call on Tony’s help to deal with a terrorist known as the Mandarin and his organization, Ten Rings.
Instead of shutting down the rumors, Favreau revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he hasn’t been signed as the director of the announced movie. “We've been speaking informally about it, and in concept we would all love to work together again… There's no formal arrangement yet, but in theory we would all love to see it happen." The director also recommended Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man run as a preparation for the sequel: "We want to talk to [Fraction] and get him out here," Favreau said. "The Fraction series seems to be informed as much by our movie as by what happened with Iron Man before."
The director and actor also suggested that Iron Man 3 would in fact be the Avengers movie and said that, in his opinion, Iron Man 2 would be the series’ high point: "It's very difficult to keep these franchises from running out of gas after two [movies]. The high point seems to be the second one, judging by history: If you just look at the consensus in the reviews, you see that X-Men 2 and Spider-Man 2 are sort of seen by the fans as the sort of high point of both franchises, though I don't necessarily agree with that. But to be able to fold it into an Avengers is something you just couldn't do in another studio, and I think what Marvel is about is stuff you can't do at a bigger studio."
It became more and more evident that Marvel didn’t learn a thing from Iron Man
’s long and troubled way on the silver screen. A month after the first movie’s release, IESB broke the news that Marvel Studios Chairman David Maisel, the author of Marvel Studios’ risky, worth $525 million, financing deal with Merrill Lynch, was planning to fire Jon Favreau and get another director for the sequel.
According to The Motley Fool, Marvel offered Favreau less than $5 million for Iron Man 2. That wasn’t much, considering that he earned $4 million for the first one. Various sites described the deal as “insulting”. During Howard Stern’s radio show, the director revealed that he would hope to make 1% of the Iron Man 2 gross, but Marvel decided to turn down Favreau’s offer. The director told Stern that Hollywood producers have a long history of being stingy with profits. The studio that earned $10,4 million from Spider-Man’s $821 million and decided to take things into their own hands, wanted to do the same thing to Favreau.
After the fans’ outrage, Deadline reported that Marvel’s higher-ups changed their minds and an offer was on the table. Apparently, making Favreau’s salary public was just a standard while negotiating contracts. Deadline’s Nikki Finke reported that Maisel “very recently
” put a new offer for Favreau to direct the sequel. The offer was “definitely
” richer than what the helmer received for Iron Man
. Finke’s source said that there’s nothing to worry about: "They're not paying him the same wage. They're definitely paying him a higher fee to direct this one. What, do people think Marvel is stupid? Of course, the movie was successful, so they're offering him more
On the contrary, Harry Knowles, who was producing Favreau’s attempt on bringing John Carter
on the big screen said that “There is a very, very strong chance that unless David Maisel pulls his head out of his ass and work on this deal - you'll see Jon Favreau directing anything but an 'Iron Man 2' or an 'Avengers' movie
. Jon Favreau wants to do more 'Iron Man' movies. He would love to play in the Marvel Universe. Sadly... David Maisel is penny pinching his own company into a malignant purplenurple,
” Knowles concluded.
Knowles also talked with Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige at the Austin screening of The Incredible Hulk
and the producer expressed his interest in collaborating with Favreau in the future.
To assure the worried fans, Favreau said IESB that "[The deal with Marvel] is gonna work out. I have a feeling...we're working it all out. They're actively engaged..."
The director once again gave his opinion on Marvel’s scheduling strategy: "You look at the ones who took three years. ['Dark Knight' director Christopher] Nolan did 'The Prestige' in between. You're able to ...mix things up a little bit. To get this thing done in two years it means that we've got to dig in really fast and be relentless. It's just a wind sprint all the way through
Favreau also confirmed that the franchise wouldn’t go “darker” anytime soon and the studio would keep Iron Man family friendly, but it didn’t mean that the series couldn’t go to more serious places.
Four months after setting the release date for Iron Man 2
, Marvel finally announced that Favreau secured the director's chair and would return to direct the highly-anticipated sequel.
With Iron Man 2 set to begin filming in March 2009 and problems on the Maisel-Favreau line, Marvel Studios has finally found a screenwriter for the sequel, actor Justin Theroux (Rock of Ages, Zoolander 2). The two teams that wrote the first Iron Man, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway weren’t returning, as Robert Downey Jr. managed to persuade the producers to hire Theroux, who worked with Downey on Tropic Thunder.
Robert Downey Jr. revealed some secrets about the sequel at the Chicago Sun-Time and ensured that Marvel is not planning to revolutionize what worked the first time: “You want some plot secrets? Okay, here we go,” Downey said in an interview. “If he said he's Iron Man in the first film, it's one thing to say it and another thing to evolve to a point where you can live in a heroic fashion.” The team's main goal was "more of the same in 'Iron Man 2.' We want to do what worked for us last time. I'm talking about telling more of the story of a guy put in extraordinary circumstances who has a family now and he's dealing with these forces. In 'Iron Man 2,' you will be able to understand various points of view about him that are far-reaching while this guy is still grounded in reality.”
War Machine’s full presence was also briefly teased in the first Stark’s adventure and the director knew that they had to deliver on that premise: "We're figuring out [War Machine]," Favreau promised. "We're talking to Terrence to see if he can take some time out of his new life as a musician to be War Machine. I think Terrence and the character of Rhodey were smaller in the first movie than we had anticipated. But it does set the table very well for this character."
Still, the biggest challenge the production had to face was the already set release date. With a year and a half left till the release, Theroux and Favreau were still only discussing ideas and the project was far away from being finished and ready to shoot. In fact, the script wasn’t even ready when the crew has been filming Iron Man 2, but that’s just the way Favreau works: “The writing is really coming along quite well. We've got Justin Theroux working on it. He echoes Downeys taste a lot and he worked with him on Tropic Thunder. He's an excellent actor. I come at writing the same way he does. He brings a real sense of fun. He's never worked in the genre before and he has that great newcomer's enthusiasm that I think we still share. Then it's about, ok, here are the books, here's what we've got. Here's the story, so we're breaking story. Pages are coming out, but it's really more of a conversation than actual writing. The pages come but the pages are never really what they are going to be in the movie, until the day we start shooting”.
Of all comic-book stories involving Tony Stark, Demon in a Bottle is arguably the most well-known, heaviest, and also, one of the best. Favreau knew that, but right from the start he resolved the doubts: “Stark has issues with booze. That's part of who he is. I don't think we'll ever do the Leaving Las Vegas version, but it will be dealt with”. The movie was also inspired by Armor Wars II.
The director felt the pressure, as the first movie was made under the mainstream radar, but the second one didn’t have that comfront and the comparisons to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight were inevitable. Favreau said that he would love to be Pepsi to their Coke, the choice of a new generation.
On October 28, 2008 Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle were both confirmed to star in the movie as Tony Stark and James Rhodes. Favreau would also get a producer credit.
In an interview with UGO, Theroux confirmed that they were finishing the first draft "We’ve kind of got a first draft around. You know what I mean? I just got back from London where I was working with Robert and Kevin Feige. He was out there. We were talking with Robert, who’s out there doing Sherlock Holmes, he was giving his input and his notes. We’re sort of there. It’s just sort of chugging along. The crews, I think, are now starting to see what they need to make, and the places that we might be going and all the rest within the story. That’s sort of one of the more exciting times."
It can be said that Robert Downey Jr.’s career mirrors the life of Tony Stark. The actor realized that and said in a Thanksgiving interview that “My life lessons were that the battles have to be hard fought and hard won. I certainly wouldn't wish it on an enemy, but as it stands right now, I'm MTV's "actor we're most thankful for." All this stuff does mean something. I grew up in and around MTV. I remember going to the MTV Video Music Awards with Anthony Michael Hall and David Lee Roth, driving down Fifth Avenue in a convertible Studebaker. David was wearing white gloves and tails. I was like, "Dude, is it ever going to get more modern than this?"
The movie’s script still wasn’t ready, but the works were advanced enough to start assembling the cast. A casting call revealed that Crimson Dynamo ("30s, Eastern European, brilliant, gritty...
") and Black Widow ("20s, beautiful, speaks several languages fluently and is equally proficient in martial arts..
.") would join the picture, meaning that despite being teased and confirmed for IM2
, the Mandarin wouldn’t be the main villain, once again.
Latino Review run with an information that Tim Robbins would play Tony’s father, Howard Stark, meaning that Gerard Sanders wouldn’t reprise his role from the first Iron Man. According to the website, Black Widow and Hawkeye would “definitely” appear in the movie. Robbins later debunked the rumor in an interview with CinemaBlend. Gary Oldman (Air Force One, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) was rumored to play Stark Senior, but his manager debunked the rumor by saying that "Mr. Oldman did not visit the set of 'Iron Man' and there are currently no plans for him to appear in the film."
The Hollywood Reporter started 2009 with a reveal of the potential Iron Man 2 villains. Mickey Rourke (Sin City. The Wrestler) was rumored to play Ivan Vanko, a tattooed Russian enginer, also known as The Whiplash for his deadly whips. Other sources were saying that Rourke would in fact play The Crimson Dynamo. As we know it, Marvel Studios decided to merge both personalities in the movie.
Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Moon) would play Justin Hammer, a multibillionaire businessman and a rival of Tony Stark. An unconfirmed rumor said that Al Pacino (The Godfather, Scarface) was considered for the role but turned it down. If the rumor is true, Marvel was looking for a more comic-accurate, older Hammer, but went with a younger version of the character after all, probably thanks to Theroux and Favreau. Rockwell starred in Favreau’s Made and enjoyed the experience so much that he agreed to play in Iron Man 2 without reading the (unfinished) script. “It felt like an independent movie because of Jon Favreau. And [screenwriter] Justin Theroux was the reason I was in it. It was an amazing experience,” Rockwell said Vanity Fair in an interview last year.
On January 15, Variety revealed that Marvel Studios has found its Black Widow. The company hired Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Into The Woods
) to portray Russian super-spy Natasha Romanova in Iron Man 2
and The Avengers
A week after the announcement the the bad guys for Iron Man 2 have been found, Rockwell denied the reports and said that he would love to play Hammer, but nothing has been set in stone at the time. There’s a chance he’s heard about Marvel’s offer to Mickey Rourke, $250K. Yes, $250 000. Meisel really loved his new position. And money.
During the promotion of Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, Rourke revealed that he might be involved in Iron Man 2 and "I want to do, they want me to do and we are talking". He didn’t comment on the reported money issue.
Due to Emily Blunt’s scheduling conflict between Rob Letterman's Gulliver’s Travels and Iron Man 2, Marvel Studios has started discussion with other actresses to fill the role of Black Widow. Entertainment Weekly’s sources have confirmed in February that Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Her) has been approached for the role and she was interested in the project.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Rourke asked about his villainous role in the movie answered grimly that "Right now, we're not doing Iron Man 2”.
Set designer J. Michael Riva ignited the fans’ imagination and decribed a scene in Iron Man 2
where "Tony, in the Iron Man armor, pukes in a toilet.
" Despite the director’s confirmations that the movie wouldn’t tackle the Demon in a Bottle
storyline, many editors were happy to report that the description clearly indicated a darker direction for the highly-anticipated sequel.
The Orlando Sentinel's Roger Moore (no, not the one who played James Bond) had a chance to interview Blunt and she didn’t seem to mourn after losing the role of Black Widow. "I'm okay. Because I just have to do this Fox movie, and it's fine and I'm gonna have fun. The whole beginning of the year has been rather dramatic, so I'd just rather go in with fresh eyes and know that I've made the right decision. You just don't know until it's all finished and done with, do you?"
Moore tried to cheer her up a bit by telling her “Well, the sequel's almost never as good as the original.” It looks like the screenplay didn’t please the actress as she responded "I'm glad you said that, not me. It's a little disappointing is all I can say."
The Hollywood Reported finally delivered some good news for the Marvel team and announced that Samuel L. Jackson has signed a nine-picture deal to portray Nick Fury. Till this day, L. Jackson played the character in Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He’s also going to reprise the role in next year’s Captain Marvel. It means that we will see L. Jackson in at least two or three Marvel movies, depening on his ABC’s Agents of Shield involvement.
In March, Mickey Rourke has change his mind and asked by the paparazzi if he would be involved in Iron Man 2
responded "You bet your ass
A month before the filming start, Deadline confirmed that Rourke and Johansson were officialy cast. “It was nice because both Favreau and Downey Jr both fought for me to get my deal worked out, those guys both went into bat for me and I appreciated that,” Rourke said a year later to Inquirer Entertainment. In early 2009, Sony was trying to get Rourke to play a villain in Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, so it was a big win for Marvel Studios. According to Deadline’s sources, Johansson was the first choice to play Widow, but she rejected the role in favor of Blunt. It turned out that she was the closest second place and after Blunt’s departure, she has been tapped to take the part.
To prepare to his upcoming role as Whiplash, Rourke spent a few hours behind bars in Russia to mentally prepare for the role and interviewed both, prisoners and jailers. In an interview with the UK Guardian, Rourke talked about his preparation for playing the main villain in Iron Man 2. "I decided to do half my role in Russian," he beamed, "and that's hard because the Russian language doesn't roll off the English-speaking tongue very easily. I spent three hours a day with a teacher, and after two weeks I know four sentences! Let me see, it's sort of like... 'Yezzamee menya... Yezzamee manya obott... Er, nemaboootty menya...'" This goes on for quite some time. "It means," he finally said, "If someone kills me, don't wake me up, because I'd rather be dead than live in your world."
In the meantime, Brett Ratner used an interview with MTV as an opprortunity to insult and compliment Iron Man at the same time "I would do any superhero movie that I was asked to do... But I wouldn’t have been interested in 'Iron Man.' I have a lot of respect for [Jon Favreau], because to me, it was a B-character. But look what he did." He also expressed his sadness due to losing an opportunity to make a Superman movie and was worried that for him, the ship has sailed to adapt comic-book characters. "I was so upset when I left 'Superman,'" Ratner said. "Singer has his 'X-Men,' Nolan has 'Batman' — there’s nothing left. 'Hulk' has been exploited already. There’s nothing left for me... I mean, I’m not going to go and do the Silver Surfer or something." He was right.
During the press tour for The Soloist
, Downey Jr. asked the fans to curb their enthusiasm and ensured that the Demon in a Bottle
storyline won’t be used in Iron Man 2
, because “it’s such its own storyline. We're going for the interim space [between the origin and 'Demon']
." The actor also described IM2
as an "incredibly risky and artistic for a big genre movie. The motivations Tony has and why he turns around and does things has completely to do with his own internal processes...we're kind of trying to tell a story about how a dysfunctional family saves life on Earth as we know it
." Downey Jr. also complemented Rourke’s work "I’ve seen his stuff and it is literally remarkable. Literally remarkable. He’s so good. And he’s formidable and he’s very much reminding me of that kind of charming, confident guy that we know
Faran Tahir (Star Trek, Elysium) commented on whether or not he will play The Mandarin in any future Marvel movies "I don't know. My answer to that is that we created the character, not by accident, but by design, with a vague future. You can spin it many different ways and it should make sense, was the idea. One is this guy who has a connection to Mandarin at some point... or is this guy someone who might become Mandarin at some point? There's a case to be made -- and a pretty good one -- that two guys, who in the belly of a cave, almost like a womb, emerge out of that womb and one becomes Iron Man and one becomes Mandarin. There's a case to be made for that".
Rockwell explained why Justin Hammer won’t look or act like his counterpart from the comics. “They wanted to go with a rival for Tony Stark who is closer to his age, and make him American,” Rockwell told MTV News about the new look for the Marvel villain. "That looks like Jeremy Irons,” Rockwell joked on the Hammer character in the comic. “I guess they couldn’t get Jeremy Irons for it.”
Iron Man 2’s crew started the summer 2009 with an announcement that Olivia Munn has landed a role in the movie. Munn described the role as “a bigger role than ‘Big Stan”. She had about five seconds screen time in that Rob Shneider’s comedy. The actress also refuted speculation that she’s playing a TV reporter. A year later, Munn revealed that she’s reshot all of her scenes and is playing a different character. "They started to edit they realized it was becoming darker than what they'd expected and what my scenes had allowed for. My parts were lighthearted and comedic." she said IGN.
Favreau explained that "She did a very funny comedic take on a girl that [Tony] was with at his birthday party. She pops up again later in his bedroom. But the way the scene went down, that part of the movie didn't want to have comedy because it was starting to get a little bit serious and bump tonally. ... As a scene it was great, but when we put the whole movie together, that's one of the things that happens. It's happened to me many times as an actor, but we called her up and said, 'There's another thing that we're shooting now, we'd love to have you in the film.' " Yep, she ended up playing a TV reported at Stark Expo with about five seconds of screen time.
Iron Man 2 wrapped filming in July 2009. Favreau discussed the picture with Movies Online and teased Iron Man 3, the end of Iron Man trilogy. "They make the option deals, they include Iron Man 3. So I know they're planning on 3. Whether that would be before or after Avengers, they've announced that Avengers is next but they pushed back The Avengers once, which I thought was encouraging."
On August 31, Walt Disney Co. announced the purchase of Marvel Entertainment for about $4 billion. "This is perfect from a strategic perspective
," Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger told CNNMoney.com. "This treasure trove of over 5,000 characters offers Disney the ability to do what we do best
Jarvis’ voice, Paul Bettany completely forgot that he was in the first Iron Man and had no idea whether he would return in the second one. "It was an hour['s worth of work]. I got rung up. The director [Jon Favreau], who I know and have worked with as actors [in Wimbledon], said, 'Do you wanna do this thing?' 'Yeah, sure. F*** it. I'll do Iron Man.' I went in. He's a very funny human being, obviously, and I laughed my ass off for about an hour. Literally said a couple of lines, went downstairs, got in a cab and went home," Bettany said. "And I had, swear to God, wiped it out of my mind. People would say to me, 'You're in Iron Man!' 'No, I'm not. Oh, no, yeah, I suppose I am!' So, it's [just] as mysterious. I don't know what I'm doing, whether I come back or not."
According to Favreau, Downey Jr. contributed more than we thought in the creation of the movie and has helped to rewrite scenes. Downey said that he had an intuition about how Tony should be portrayed in the first movie: "I have fortified my belief that if I have a creative instinct about something, usually it's not because I've had too much coffee or because I'm bored - it's because I sense there's something there. And it's always mind-blowing when you follow a hunch and realise it's exactly what the movie wanted
Through a unique collaboration between Marvel Studios and Columbia Records, fifteen AC/DC’s songs would be featured in Iron Man 2. The traditional score was composed by John Debney (The Passion of the Christ, The Jungle Book).
Downey, Jr. has spoken many times about how great it is to play a superhero at his age, but he admitted that the actual process of shooting the film in the heavy Iron Man armor does have its drawbacks: "Well, the suit was a bit lighter, but not light enough for my liking. I had more self-confidence shooting the second film, but I wouldn't say we had fun. We wanted to take more time. We extended the cast and our horizon and made the story more complex and subtle, although it's still easy to follow. We really looked into the storyline thoroughly to make it as good as possible."
Favreau clarified when the movie’s action takes place in the MCU timeline. Iron Man 2 officially takes place before The Incredible Hulk. It’s pretty complicated since at the end of Iron Man 2, Stark rejects joining the Avengers initiative and at the start of The Avengers he’s not involved in SHIELD’s doings at all. So why would he chase Gen. Ross in the post-credits scene of TIH to ask him about the Hulk and why he’s smiling when Ross asks him who’s “we”? That’s a mystery that will probably stay unsolved.
Before the fast approaching release of Iron Man 2, Theroux explained once again why the movie didn't adapt “Demon in the Bottle... That works really well in the comics. It's just a great, gritty storyline. It doesn't transfer to film", the actor told MTV. "We didn't want to be the Leaving Las Vegas version of Iron Man 2. Even just a little bit of that can completely dominate the story. We have him drinking in the movie; we have him out of control. We have the self-destructive ticking clock...That's how we landed on his illness, that it's the metaphor for a man who's running out of steam and needs his friends to step up. Whereas, if we ran right toward the Demon in the Bottle story, nobody wants to see Tony like that...We realized that in a comic book you can have one key-frame where it's a guy, drunk, but in a movie, that's gotta be a big scene and it's gotta be addressed”. Here’s the most important quote from the interview: ”A thirteen year old kid does not want to see drunken Tony”.
During a film festival in Sarajevo, Mickey Rourke guaranteed that Iron Man 2
would be better than Iron Man
. Robert Downey Jr. said that the film would be "incredible in every detail
." According to a JustJared report, Johansson joked to Extra TV, "Hopefully, I won’t be crucified for saying this, but I think the second one is even better
." A week before the theatrical release of Iron Man 2
on May 7, 2010, the first reviews started to slowly surface. Marvel Studios had to face the terrible truth - Howard's prophecy may have been right.
THE SHARKS HAVE COME
With moderately positive reviews, Iron Man 2 finished its box office run with $623,933,331, which was more than the first one’s $585 million, but it was a bitter win as the sequel decreased domestically and its production budget was increased to approximately $200 million.
In the aftermath of Iron Man 2, Marvel Studios turned down Favreau’s offer to direct The Avengers. According to CinemaBlend, Favreau who was unhappy with Iron Man 2, wanted to direct The Avengers, but Marvel Studios' typical pet peeve got in the way. "Favreau really wanted to direct The Avengers but Marvel didn’t want to pay for him. Their negotiations with Favreau to secure him as the director of Iron Man 2 were difficult and Favreau worked out a deal that got him paid more money.”
The website also revealed that Marvel Studios didn’t let Favreau make the movie he wanted to make, but the movie that was basically a two-hours teaser for The Avengers. "Iron Man 2 wasn’t the movie Jon Favreau wanted to make. Marvel interfered heavily with his work on the movie and turned the project into a commercial for The Avengers. Favreau felt the movie was rushed into production (and if you followed the development process you know it was) and they pushed him into making it without a fully realized script. Iron Man 2 wasn’t the movie he wanted to make and because of that, if there’s an Iron Man 3, there’s every reason to think he won’t be back. Marvel doesn’t want to pay him and Favreau may not want to deal with more Marvel interference.”
Late Garry Shandling played a U.S. senator who wanted the Iron Man armor to be handed over to the US government, revealed that working with Downey Jr. was “unbelievable. He is so fast, funny and facile at playing in the moment. That is very, very special, and that’s exactly where I like to be. I liked to improvise and he likes to improvise and Jon said that was fine as long as we gave him the story. So what was a five-page scene turned into a 15-page scene."
Interestingly enough, Mickey Rourke never studied, or even watched his performance in Iron Man 2, because "I like doing 'em. I don't give a f*ck about watching my own stuff."
A year after the release of the movie, Downey Jr. reflected on the "life-changing" success of Marvel's Iron Man and the minor disappointment with its sequel in an interview with the Los Angeles Times:
"The first one changed everything for me and with the second 'Iron Man' there were certain aspects that were dissatisfying and disappointing to me but at least they lit me right.... [The first one] was a meditation on responsibility and an exploration of how a small group of people can take a two-dimensional idea and, if the winds are right, create something that makes people say, 'That was my favorite movie of the year. To me, Tony Stark's story is a karma story and a technology story. I love a good action movie — a Steve McQueen or Tom Cruise or Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson in the right spot, and you smile and say, 'That's what this kind of movie is all about.' There were two times in my life I prepared for something manically, it was [Iron Man] and 'Chaplin.' I became the expert on this guy."
During the promotional tour for Immortals
, Rourke discussed his villainous role in Iron Man 2
. It’s important to remember that not all of his material made the final cut: "I try to find the moments where [the villain is] not that clichéd, evil bad guy and it's a big fight. I had it on 'Iron Man' and they won. It was going to work for Marvel and them breaking [Jon] Favreau's balls and wanting just a one-dimensional villain. The performance and all the things that I tried to bring to it end up on the f--ing floor. That can cause you not to care as much. To not to want to put that effort in to try and make it an intelligent bad guy or a bad guy who is justified in what his reasons are
In a fairly lengthy interview with Crave Online, The Wrestler star accused Marvel of butchering Favreau’s vision: “It’s like when I did Ivan Vanko in Iron Man, I fought… You know, I explained to Justin Theroux, to the writer, and to [Jon] Favreau that I wanted to bring some other layers and colors, not just make this Russian a complete murderous revenging bad guy. And they allowed me to do that. Unfortunately, the [people] at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor.”
The actor also called Marvel’s movies “midless” and said that he wouldn’t be a part of the MCU ever again. “I don’t want to have to care so much and work so hard, and then fight them for intelligent reasoning, and just because they’re calling the shots they… You know, I didn’t work for three months on the accent and all the adjustments and go to Russia just so I could end up on the floor. Because that can make somebody say at the end of the day, oh f**k ‘em, I’m just going to mail it in. But I’m not that kind of guy. I’m never going to mail it in.”
Based on the interview, it seemed that Favreau and Theroux tried to do something more with the Whiplash but ultimately “you’ve got some nerd with a pocketful of money calling the shots. You know, Favreau didn’t call the shots. I wish he would have. And Theroux, we worked together to bring layers to that character, so, you know, I fight for that any time I’m playing like a bad guy”.
In an interview with MTV seven years ago, Rourke finally decided to call the things as they were and literally said that "If they let you play the bad guy with other dimensions other than one dimensional. You have to fight for that though, to bring layers to the character. Otherwise, if you're working for the wrong studio or let's say a director that doesn't have any balls, then they're just gonna want it to be the evil bad guy. So, if you're working with some good studio guys that got brains and you're working with a director with a set of nuts that'll let you incorporate that then it's fun.”
Iron Man 2
could’ve been so much more. But because of Marvel Studios playing it safe and rushed, unnecessarily complicated production process, “you end up with what happened on 'Iron Man .