One of the highlights of my time at Comic-Con was a press conference with Don Cheadle, Robert Downey, Jr., producer Kevin Feige, and Shane Black about “Iron Man 3.” Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “The Last Boy Scout”) co-wrote and takes over direction from Jon Favreau. Just after their appearance before more than 6000 fans in the cavernous Hall H, they met with journalists to talk about one of 2013’s most eagerly anticipated films.
Asked about pressure to top the action scenes in the previous chapters and the blockbuster “The Avengers,” Downey said, “There is an idea about being big. But for me it’s more about capturing and redoubling the intensity, like ‘The Avengers,’ that sort of lighting in a bottle, the thrills in a short space.” “We’re not looking for bigness, necessarily,” said Black, “We’re looking for different and fresh and new and change.” They talked about the “real, practical suit” — not CGI — that has made the “Iron Man” movies so mechanically satisfying. “More uncomfortable for the actors, more satisfying for the audience,” Downey smiled. And everyone agreed that most of the rumors and speculation online was wrong. Black said he was surprised about “how much generous help was available to me.” Favreau gave him “all kinds of tips and advice” and “the transitional feel I needed,” asking only for some salmon and blueberries. He also appreciated Marvel’s special effects help so he could “concentrate on story. It’s as self-contained a story as we’ve done since ‘Iron Man 1.'” They promised romance and some comedy, too. And Black said he appreciated Marvel’s letting him take some risks. “He’s a great story-teller, and he has a great relationship with Robert,” said Feige. “We’re confident in the infrastructure we can provide.”
Downey said that even he was surprised at the success of “The Avengers” and was looking forward to exploring the relationship between Rhodey and Tony with more depth, as the comics do, and seeing Tony Stark reconsider his role “in a post-Avengers world, what sort of limitations might be placed on him and what threat would make him, as usual, ignore those limitations.” “You have to find a way that the first two aren’t done yet, in other words, how has the story not yet been completely told, to make it feel organic and new,” said Black. “We seriously dug into Tony’s world.” “I do suit up,” Cheadle said, and promised some “additional iterations” for his character. “I liked in the comic there was a bit of suit envy,” said Downey, pointing out the difference between a corporate and military approach. “And for some reason or other, Tony is the one they trust!” “This film has a lot of breadth to it. There’s a way to enjoy all that kind of shadowy stuff” in Tony’s character.
“We’re not really going to China,” Black stage-whispered, though some scenes are set there.
Downey charmingly insisted on taking a question from a boy with a Sharpie Tony Stark goatee, who stood up, took a deep breath, and asked how it felt to be a hero. “I think I speak for any of us who get to live in this world. I take it as seriously as Shakespeare.”