I just got back from a press conference with the always entertaining director/actor Jon Favreau, where he was discussing the Iron Man DVD, which hits the shelves on September 30. However, much of the hour-long press conference was devoted to the forthcoming anticipated sequel, Iron Man 2, which has been slated for a 2010 release. Here are some of the Iron Man 2-related highlights that Favreau talked about.
Favreau on the sequel and a possible Avengers film:
It's tough because at first it was like, 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we stuck the Captain America shield in the background. Wouldn't it be fun if we had Sam Jackson play Nick Fury like the Ultimate Avengers?' It was like, let's prove ourselves to our fans, so you do that. Now, between the Captain America shield, Nick Fury and after, what was going to be the after-the-credits scene became the final scene of The Incredible Hulk, that one was a big one for me. We're forming a team. It's clearly not the day after Iron Man ended, so where does it fit in the time continuum? I dont want to just ignore it or do what the comic books have done, as Marvel would say, 'It's an alternate universe.' They've gotten away with that one for a couple of decades. How do you make it all work within that world and I think The Incredible Hulk was successful in keeping a tone that did not seem inconsistent with our film. We definitely now have a lot of things. I come out of improv and in improv you go, 'OK, give me a suggestion of a place, give me a line of dialogue.' Here it's like, 'Give me three scenes that I have to incorporate into my next movie. It is a challenge, but it's refreshing because it's not like we have a studio executive who couldn't care less. In this case you have Kevin Feige, who is like how are we gonna solve this puzzle? It's like a Rubix Cube to them as well. Just all that brainpower addressing things, we've come up with some interesting solutions. We have a pretty good game plan and there's conversations I've had with them about the Avengers too, because remember, with the Avengers, you're not just dealing with tech, you're dealing with inter-dimensional portals and all the shit that makes you jump the shark if you don't handle it right. We were very restrained in how we used our superheroism in our movie and we did that by keeping it all tech-based. Then The Incredible Hulk is still kind of tech-based, you have a guy frozen and with the super-soldier thing. Then you get into Thor and it's like, 'OK, how are we gonna do that?' How do we make that in the same world as our movie does and that's going to be the challenge moving forward.
Favreau on the sequel's writing:
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 enthusiasum 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.
Favreau on collaborating with Robert Downey Jr. for the sequel:
I was at his house yesterday. Clearly, we met Justin through him. He really thought the world of him from that process, and there was a lot of writing going on and stuff there too. Robert was very collaborating on the set of writing and making it, and part of my gig were to not just stand on his mark, but to bring enough of his reality so that it seems more interesting and has more dimension. He's been very involved. His star has only risen and his leaverage has only gotten greater and now he's not the guy where, 'Please let me screen test,' he's the guy who's being offered every movie in town.
Favreau on going the long haul with the whole series:
It's one day at a time. This next one is going to be good because this next one, I have, creatively, I've got a lot of room, they'll pay me well if this one does well, I know everybody and everybody can't wait to see it. Swingers was fun, but it came and went. Elf was fun, but it came and went. If you did sequels to those, it would feel like you're double-dipping and it gets worse. But this type of franchise it can get better because it's meant to be a franchise so you never feel like youre chasing it, so at this point we're good.
Favreau on the War Machine in the sequel:
I want to do it. We're drawing War Machine, were figuring it out, talking to Terrence (Howard), seeing if he can take some time out of his new life as a musician to be War Machine. I think Terrence and the character was smaller in the first movie than we had anticipated, but that's how it worked for the movie. That was the best way to tell the story, with that kind of origin story. We spend half the movie in the cave, but it does set the table very well for this character. War Machine is fun and, again, you look for ways to up the ante. It's tough to up the ante on the villain side, without going into strange territories, but what we can do is really have a lot of fun with our family, our main characters, and that includes myself. I expect to have a lot more to do in this one or I will walk.
Favreau on IMAX or 3-D for the sequel:
I would love to do some IMAX stuff. I think thats going to be a game-changer. I would love to do some of it on IMAX, for IMAX. Its all a matter of dollars and cents for them. I'd also love to do 3-D. For this one, I would love to do 3-D, because, just think of the HUD. Just think of that virtual space and what that would be like. The layers and what you could get away with, what fun that could be. It also drives people to see it in the theater and makes that much more of an experience. It all comes down to how much does it cost, and what do they get for it and my leaverage only goes so far with technical issues like that.
Watch for the full roundtable with Jon Favreau, as well as a full roundtable with Iron Man creator Stan Lee in the very near future.