Iron Man 2 Set Visit
IGN Movie paid a visit to Iron Man 2 in Los Angeles where spoke at length with Robert Downey Jr., director Jon Favreau and and Marvel Studios Kevin Feige about the sequel, which just wrapped this month. (Beware spoiler alert)
[Please be advised that this article is potentially spoiler-ish for some.] IGN Movies visited the set of Iron Man 2 on an uncharacteristically rainy day in Los Angeles this past June. While on-set at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, we spoke at length with star Robert Downey Jr., director Jon Favreau, and Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige about the sequel, which just wrapped this month.
The majority of our set visit was spent in Tony Stark’s new and improved workshop/lab. The entire floor is made of shiny, dark glass — which required visitors to wear booties over their shoes so as to not scuff it up — that, in the film, will project holographic images and schematics throughout the lab for Stark to interact with. In the far side of the workshop is the armory where Tony’s Iron Man suits are stored. Curiously, one of them was missing, a mystery that wasn’t solved until it was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con that Don Cheadle will be wearing a modified version of it as War Machine.
The first scene we observed being shot that had Tony examining a miniature model of the 1974 Stark Expo, a cross between Macworld and the 1964 World’s Fair if it had been staged by the late Howard Stark (played by Mad Men’s John Slattery). Howard hid something of great value on the grounds way back when and now Tony desperately needs to find it. “The key to the future is … where?,” Downey asked in character take after take as the camera swooped over the miniature and settled on his scrutinizing face.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
looks over a model of the 1974 Stark Expo
The biggest surprise we had on set wasn’t even on the schedule for us to see, but Marvel and Favreau were kind enough to arrange for us to meet Scarlett Johansson in costume as the sexy spy Black Widow. She had been filming second unit stuntwork on a nearby soundstage when she graciously took a few moments out to chitchat with us. As you can now tell from the newly released photos, Scarlett is ridiculously hot as Black Widow. She was even more jaw-dropping in person.
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.
Without giving too much away, there are two interconnected personal crises that Tony is dealing with in Iron Man 2 (and alcoholism isn’t one of them): Tony’s lingering father issues and an energy crisis of some sort. The shadow of Tony’s celebrated, brilliant father — a man who helped America win World War II and stay armed during the Cold War — looms over the entire film. Howard’s past somehow holds the key to Tony’s future. (Tony isn’t the only character with daddy issues; Mickey Rourke’s Ivan “Whiplash” Vanko also has them. Vanko and Stark are two sides of the same coin; Vanko even has a famous scientist father, Anton.)
“It’s one of the major themes of the movie, which is that no man is an island. Here’s a guy who’s said, ‘I’m going to run the company myself. I’m going to take control of all of my own technology, use it only for benefit. I’m going to introduce this giant, new Stark Expo to advocate all sorts of new energy sources and all sorts of new technological wonders to the world, the world of tomorrow,’” Feige said. “But he’s a Marvel superhero and so it takes about six months for everything to go to hell once he’s done that.”
Although the sequel won’t be using the famous “Demon in a Bottle” storyline, Iron Man 2 will have echoes of it as it shows Tony succumbing to the pressure he’s under. “About midway through the film he hits rock bottom. Rock bottom is not in alleyway with alcohol alongside of a dumpster. That’s not what it is in this movie,” Feige explained. “But it is all of these things that he’s trying to do and pressuring himself to do. He sort of loses control of that.”
This collapse will affect Tony’s relationships with both Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). “He’s just one of those guys though that thinks he can do everything by themselves and that he can do it best and people start to kind of get turned off by that and turned away by that. Then he does something in a very charming, funny [manner],” Feige revealed. “I think the audience is going to cheer and laugh and it’ll be a high point of the movie, but the other characters aren’t going to be quite as amused.”
In a corner of the workshop there was a relaxation area with Tony’s personal effects and paperwork strewn about. Among the items spotted were a German passport, newspaper articles, a map of Antarctica … and a diagram of Captain America’s shield! Antarctica, Cap … Marvel really is laying the seeds for an Avengers movie in Iron Man 2. Outside the soundstage, several of us in the group of visiting journalists also noticed boxes marked “Project Pegasus.”
In the original Marvel comics, Project Pegasus was a government program that researched unusual forms of energy and also served as a prison for super-villains; in the Ultimates universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. operates the Project Pegasus facility where bizarre and powerful objects are stored. I’m not sure exactly how Project Pegasus is used in Iron Man 2, but it could be related to Howard Stark’s past, an energy crisis, Captain America, or all of the above.
How all of these plot threads play out — and how they may lay the groundwork for future Marvel movies — will become clear when Iron Man 2 finally opens May 7, 2010. Look for our on-set interviews with Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. down the line!