Shane Black Calls Mandarin "A Racist Caricature"; Confirms Return Of Actors For Iron Man 3!

In a far more detailed description of the "Shane Black Q&A" at Long Beach Comic Con, the director shares his thoughts on Mandarin, reveals which former cast members will return for Iron Man 3, comments on easter eggs, Stan Lee and more...

Thanks to Comic Book Resources, we have this detailed rundown of what director Shane Black had to say about helming 2013's Iron Man 3. There are a few comments which I'm sure many of you won't like all that much, although he does seem fairly enthusiastic about working on the project. Personally, I'm not too keen on what he seems to be planning for the movie, while the fact he was seemingly handpicked by Robert Downey Jr. is a little disconcerting as the last creative decision the actor made was getting Justin Theroux to pen the script for the underwhelming Iron Man 2! Anyway, here are a few highlights from the site, while you can read it in full by clicking on the link below.

Switching to “Iron Man 3,” Black admitted that ten years ago he would not have believed Marvel would ever make a movie about Iron Man, precisely because he was not that over-muscled stereotypical superhero. Outside of “Iron Man 3,” Black was also involved in the very first “Iron Man,” albeit in a very small way.

“Downey and Favreau came to my house and said, we need your help, and we talked for a few days. That was my participation on ‘Iron Man,’ we talked for a few days,” laughed Black. Uncertain why Favreau left the franchise, Black said that he felt it was most likely because Favreau just had other things he wanted to do. He also stated Downey Jr. was the one who called him to convince Black to jump on the film.

“Robert called me and said, ‘I have big plans for you!’” said Black as the audience laughed again. Though he at first planned to both write and direct the film, Black confessed he was surprised when he found out screenwriter Drew Pearce was going to write the script.

“All of a sudden I’m reading the paper and it’s like, Drew Pearce writing Iron Man! I went to work and said, ‘You guys, he’s British for Christ sakes!’” said Black, continuing, “But what happened was this great collaboration and friendship with this great, lovely British writer.”

“We decided that the villain was going to be the Melter – no, I’m kidding,” added Black as the audience laughed. The director continued, “That’s the problem, isn’t it? Iron Man never really had good villains.” When audience members suggested the Mandarin, Black dismissed it as a racist caricature. The director then said he was not going to divulge any detail about who the villain would be, stating that it was more satisfying to see the movie without knowing everything beforehand.

Touching on the second “Iron Man” movie, Black stated that while it was successful commercially, he believed it was critically ill received as the movie made a lot of “half choices” and that Stark was not a “proactive” hero in it.

“The middle of the movie is Tony Stark sitting around his house!” complained Black. Emphasizing high stakes as extremely important to a movie, Black said that in “Iron Man 3” he hoped to make bold choices and planned to set up multiple payoffs and reversals. He suddenly quizzed the audience on what a reversal was, and one audience member said it was an event or bit of information that shifted your perception.

“I love the tinker toy approach, I love having a set…really I’m just playing,” added Black.

The director then stated he loved “Thor,” to which the audience cheered and applauded. However, “I just keep going back to the Pixar things,” admitted Black with a laugh, citing “The Incredibles” as “Brilliant.”

Opening the floor to audience questions, the first audience member to the microphone jokingly asked if “Iron Man 3” takes place at Christmas, like so many of Black’s other films.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” said Black as the audience laughed.

The next audience member asked Black whether he preferred practical effects or digital ones and Black said that at this point CG often looks more real than the practical effects, explaining that Iron Man’s real armor looks faker onscreen than the CGI version. “These movies are so hard because you don’t know until two weeks before you come out what they are going to look like,” said Black.

Going back to “Iron Man 3” Black told the audience that he requested that director Jon Favreau return as Happy Hogan in the film. “I love him as an actor,” said Black as the audience cheered. He also revealed that outside of a few references, “Iron Man 3” would not involve the Avengers and would focus squarely on Tony Stark.

“We really want to make it Tony’s movie,” said Black. The director also confirmed that Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle would return as Pepper Potts and Rhoades, respectively. A female audience member asked if the rumor that Black Widow was returning to the film was true.

“I’ll check the script and see if that’s in there,” said Black as the audience laughed.

Turning to the next audience question, Black said he felt Downey Jr. was perfect to play Tony Stark. “Tony is so indelibly Robert,” said Black. “Robert and I share a voice…if I leave a line open, he’ll supply the ending because we both tend to go to the same place with our characters.”

The same audience member wanted to then know if there was a particular “Iron Man” run that will influence “Iron Man 3.”

“I like the storyline where he was rich and there was a villain and then he wins,” said Black as the audience laughed. He added that he went back and read a lot of Iron Man comics as research for the film but, “I cannot speak about the particulars of Iron Man,” said Black.

While poking fun at Marvel Studios for stretching their budgets to the limits, Black said that Marvel has been good to him, naming Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige as “terrific.”

“What’s not to like other than a paycheck?” joked Black and the audience laughed. The director added that there will be a Stan Lee cameo in the film, but he does not know what yet. “It will correspond to his schedule, but I don’t know,” said Black, adding that the “Easter egg stuff” was the last thing on his mind when making the film.

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