Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Robery Downey Jr. talks "Iron Man"

Wow, it's almost 2008 already! Less than a month to go. Ergo, the Iron Man movie will be hitting big screens soon!

Wizard Universe interviewed Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr:

The actor discusses living large, working out and going to a happy place when you’re stuck in the armor

By Rickey Purdin

Posted December 3, 2007 9:15 AM

Ask anyone what they think of actor Robert Downey Jr. and you’re just as likely to hear praise over his brilliant acting career as you are about the drugs, booze and decadence that nearly destroyed his life. But starting May 2, 2008, all you’ll hear is the sonic boom he discharges when he jets into theaters at Mach 2 as the metal-clad superhero Iron Man.
Directed by Jon Favreau (“Elf”), “Iron Man” welds together an all-star cast including Downey as wealthy weapons industrialist Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow (“The Royal Tenenbaums”) as his assistant Pepper Potts, Jeff Bridges (“Seabiscuit”) playing the conniving baddie Obadiah Stane and Terrence Howard (“Crash”) as Stark’s military liaison Jim Rhodes. After a kidnapping at the hands of terrorists wakes the affluent Stark up to the crime-ridden horrors of the world, he sets out to create a suit of armor (complete with repulsor rays and rocket boots!) that allows him to smash evil in the face.
But first, Downey smashes us in the face with his thoughts on everything from his rocky past to meeting Stan Lee to the intricacies of using the bathroom. Now take notes!

“I could say that we’re similar. He’s in better shape, he’s smarter, and he’s probably a lot more quintessentially manly at the end of the day than I am. It’s not like I use a different voice or something. It’s just I’m an American guy and a citizen of the world, and there’s plenty of role models for that stuff.”

“I think that when someone has had a fundamental change—they’re not just trying to backpedal and make it seem like, ‘I’m going to rehab again. Everything is fine. I’m fine, but I’m still clubbing tonight’—by the time that you’ve seen the light, by the time you get out of Dodge and start doing the right thing, you really don’t relate to the person that historically people still say you are…But I get it. In a way that’s why it’s ideally suited for me and I’m ideally suited for it.”

“Right from the beginning, I guess the response to me being cast was good. If it hadn’t been good, it would have made me try even—there’s no even harder. I’m not an incurable perfectionist, but I’m a hard worker. And I take it real serious, seriously enough to know that at the end of the day, by the time you’re shooting it, and you’ve exhausted every opportunity to make it watchable, that then you relax and enjoy it.”

“[While filming] there were a lot of moments of just pure bliss and understanding and feeling at one with the movie universe and the whole thing. But for the most part, we cranked and rocked and worked our asses off and tried to figure out how to not do this scene in this superhero movie ever again the way we’ve seen it 10 times. So we were always trying to put our own fingerprint on it, so that it didn’t seem like you’re just caught up in that technical realm.”

“We just rotate. We had a support group. I’d be laid out in the suit and the helmet. And then they take the helmet off going, ‘Uh.’ And [stuntman Mike] Justus would be there like, ‘Dude, you okay?’ And I’d be like, ‘Are you on tomorrow?’ He goes, ‘Second unit, all day.’ I’d be like, ‘Oh, dude.’ And then, the next day, between shots, I’d go over to the second unit. He’d be like ‘Ohhh.’ I’d be, ‘What happened?’ He goes, ‘Nothing, I fell, and I had to tuck my arms.’ And I’d go, ‘Uh. ‘What do you need?’ He goes, ‘Maybe a little Advil.’ I’d be like, ‘I’ll be right back.’”

“I drove really cool cars, and I’ve got this plane that’s a mile long. The only time I’ve ever gotten used to real wealth and toys and all that was when I was visiting my other buddies who have done franchise movies. My lot in life is not to be that kind of guy, but to simultaneously enjoy it and realize that’s empty materialism.”

“[I read] Spider-Man, Iron Man, Avengers and I was big into Sgt. Rock. That was another element of why doing ‘Iron Man’ was so appropriate, strangely, for me, is I’m a big military buff. And I’m strung out on the History Channel and the Military Channel.”

“Every aspect of flight and the technology and the weapons system on the later developments of the suits, it’s not like he’s out there on a test site. He’s basically gone underground. So the only test pilot he has, and again it was a little bit of a Howard Hughes nod, is himself. And some of it is terrifying, and some of it is hilarious. But it’s hard not to applaud the guys [like Tony]—that inability to not keep tinkering with something, even if it’s going to kill them.”

“It’s so funny because I think that I’m old enough to have a pretty strong aesthetic distance. I remember the days of ‘Less Than Zero’ or ‘Chaplin’ where I would just throw myself into this tizzy of prep or live the role for 16 hours. The same makeup gal who’s doing [‘Iron Man’] did ‘Less Than Zero’ and puts menthol in my eyes and puts latex on my lips and I was doing push-ups before the scenes so that my heart was racing or whatever, and I feel like as much anything nowadays it’s not that we’re not phoning it in—we do really care and we’ve really prepped it into practical oblivion—but I say, ‘I still try to have some distance.’”

“I took him to The Grill in Beverly Hills and I said, ‘What were the real origins of this, Stan?’ He said, ‘We kind of did it on a dare.’ It was whether you could make a billionaire industrialist hedonistic somehow through this vulnerability. You think about it and it’s interesting. I mean, 30 years ago and the history. That was a time when there was a very strong anti-establishment, anti-military industrial complex. So for [Stan] it was just a huge challenge.”

“Jon has been very flexible and very fun because we’re very similar. I mean, I don’t know how this comes across, but it’s really Jon and I who are creating Tony and through that, half of the lines are his and half of the ideas are mine and we’ve got all these great people at the top of their fields who are simultaneously exasperated with the fact that we’re betting on an idea. I come in every day and I say, ‘I’ve seen this in a movie before, no offense. But if we do this, I haven’t seen that.’ Some of them are so far out they go, ‘Will you just go and put on your chest piece and earn a living like everyone else?’”

“More often than not, I feel the onus and the responsibility to not venture into this genre without an understanding that it’s actually inhabited and enjoyed by very apt, bright, perceptive and often educated-in-the-arts people. So, just because it happens to have this two-dimensional aspect to it in its origins doesn’t mean that it doesn’t go deep and that it shouldn’t be an art form.”

“I love Stan Winston and Shane Mahan and all the guys on his team. If Jon and I are Tony Stark then it’s me and those fellows—my stuntmen and stand-in—who can really wind up being Iron Man because it’s just such a massive undertaking. You could take the least macho superhero man or woman and put them in this suit and I swear to God that for 15 seconds you would believe that any of them would destroy their nemesis.”

“It’s really about the long game. It’s about how do you not have a personality meltdown in hour seven when you kind of feel like you’ve been tarred and feathered and covered in machine parts, and you’re recalling every therapeutic moment that you’ve ever had with friends and family and strangers and every book that you’ve ever read.”

“I’d like to say that I’m the first person who’s been able to relieve themselves while wearing the suit. It was precipitous. Suffice it to say, it’s like that thing where you say, ‘How did that guy escape from jail?’ And you go, ‘He was thin.’ ‘Well, there are a lot of thin people in jail.’ ‘Yeah, but that guy’s head was just the right size and he got out between the bars.’”

“When I got the part, they asked if I wanted to put on some size. I’m not 28 or some guy who’s like Daniel Craig who already had meat packed on his shoulders and then was swelled up even more for that. I mean, you’ve seen me in all the movies. I’m not Mr. Buff Guy and now I’m in the over-40 crew and so it has literally been this excruciating process of working out so hard and so often just to not look like a little pot-bellied pig.”

“We did a photo shoot the other day that wound up going great, but you see this [comic] picture of Tony Stark who kind of looks like Tom Cruise except more handsome and more buff and the suit and his hair is blowing in the wind and they go, ‘Can we get a shot like that? How do you look in the suit?’ And you’re tired and I’m not particularly tall and I’m surrounded by giants, and I was like, ‘This is weird.’”

“This might sound a little weird, but I’m not drawing on other things for [Tony]. It’s like I consider him to be a real entity for the most part. Regardless of the amount of dough that I’ve made over the years, I’ve never lived a day—I’ve never lived four seconds—like this guy has lived every day. So it’s been this really amazing experience to see what it would be like if you had unimaginable resources and you had this change of heart and then you decided to pull those resources into something that became very much like a fetish and obsessive, but obsessive in a way that you kind of have to figure out as you go along what the moral psychology is of that.”

“You have to keep your head right. It’s so easy to get spun out. You see people who have no challenges outside of their Hollywood problems come in and they regularly have meltdowns on set where they turn into a bitch or they say and do things because they’re under pressure or because they think they’re something that they’re not.”

“This has been a really grueling shoot and it’s also been a really magical shoot because, I sh-- you not, I come in every day and it reminds of reading about [Charlie] Chaplin in the early days where he’d go in without an idea in his head. It’s not like we don’t have a script. But you go in and you say, ‘How do we raise this to a level of something that we want to see that addresses all the different elements of these kinds of films?’ I’m actually starting to think that they’re a really, really high order of art.”

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