Jon Favreau sits down with a group of journalists to talk, indepth, about the sequel to Iron Man:
IGN and a small number of journalists were able to sit down with writer/director and Iron Man mastermind Jon Favreau this afternoon for a lengthy and in-depth discussion on the upcoming sequel. The conversation was packed with fresh Iron Man news, including Favreau’s thoughts on War Machine, the Mandarin and the art of the comic-book sequel.
On Iron Man’s success…
FAVREAU: I was surprised by everything. I was surprised that the reviews were so strong, that it made so much money. I was surprised that Dark Knight had better reviews and made so much more money. On the one hand, it was a really unexpected, serendipitous summer. Oddly, when Dark Knight finally came out and was received the way it was, it was such a relief for me because I really felt like we went from nobody expecting anything to people starting to expect something…First, it was, “Who the hell cares about Marvel’s b-level heroes,” to Comic-Con where began building momentum, to this fever pitch where we were afraid that we’d disappoint and fail to meet expectations. And then Dark Knight comes in and makes history and all of a sudden, we felt the relief of that spotlight moving off of us from the guard tower. And now we have two years to lay low and work on the movie.
On what changed the tide of the superhero movie…
FAVREAU: I think 9/11. I think that was a game changer. I think people were looking for emotional simplicity, for escapism. There were superhero movies before Spider-Man, but Spider-Man hit at just the right time. It was the first way that we could get to those emotions. You couldn’t say anything about politics, about war, but you put somebody in a costume and say, “This is the good guy, this is the bad guy,” and you set that in a fantasy world or the Marvel universe, all of a sudden you allow people and kids and adults to experience those emotions. They’re dealing with real emotions in an escapist way. And that’s become more complex as we’ve become more comfortable seven years later, and you can have a movie like Dark Knight that shows people those things. There’s a line you can’t cross, but that line’s moving. But I’m glad that I was able to hit the crest of the genre and I feel safe now that we have a built in audience. But you wonder how that is going to change. Whoever gets voted in, I think there’s going to be an incredible transformation. I don’t know what it’s going to be, how the economy will affect that, or what the politics will look like. But change is coming, regardless, within our political system and our culture. And I wonder, as a moviemaker, how that’s going to effect audiences and what the national attitude is. It’s not something that turns on a dime.
On The Avengers movie…
FAVREAU: It starts off as, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we stuck the Captain America shield in the background,” or “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we had Sam Jackson play Nick Fury.” That’s a nod to our fans. But now, between the shield and Nick Fury and the final scene of The Hulk, I’m like, “Wow, we’re really forming a team.” That scene is clearly not the day after Iron Man ended, so where does it fit? I don’t want to ignore it or say, as Marvel does, “It’s an alternate universe.” So how do you make it all work within that world? And Hulk was successful in keeping a tone that was not inconsistent with our film… In this case, you have Kevin Feige who wants to solve this puzzle. All that brain power makes you come up with interesting solutions. We have a pretty good gameplan. And there are conversations I’m having with them about The Avengers, where 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 superhero-ism in our movie, and we did that by keeping it all tech-based. Hulk was fairly tech-based. And then you get to Cap, where it’s a guy frozen in ice and you say, “Yeah, OK., I can buy that.” But then you get to Thor and it’s all out the window. So how you make that all feel of the same world is the challenge.
On The Mandarin as a live-action movie villain…
FAVREAU: The Mandarin is such a tricky character because everywhere you turn, it’s a minefield. You get into the mystical, Asian, dark arts and interdimensional travel and all the rings, and you say, “That’s cool; maybe we can make it authentic.” And then you see the trailer for The Mummy movie. That’s as authentic as it’s gonna get, but does it fit our film? I don’t know. What are your rules and how do you stay consistent? Because that’s what happens – people get desperate. How do you up the ante? And people start breaking their own rules and lose their identity. The Mandarin is the main guy, but we always remind ourselves that nobody likes the Emperor compared to Darth Vader. When the Emperor was this figure that you only saw obliquely, you’d say, “Shit, Darth Vader’s bowing to someone?” But then as he talked more, enough was enough. So the Mandarin, to have that kind of weight to him, it’s really a matter of using all the narrative tricks. But if you’re shooting these rings that have powers that could throw off the balance of the universe – how do you keep the whole thing together yet fulfill the expectations from the book? And a little bit goes a long way. There are a lot of other characters and countries that fit very well into our universe. The Iron Man cannon is becoming incredibly cogent and applicable once again.
On the script for Iron Man 2…
FAVREAU: The writing is coming along quite well. We’ve got Justin Theroux, who did Tropic Thunder. He echoes Downey’s tastes a lot. He’s an actor. He brings a real sense of fun. He’s never worked in the genre before, so he has that great newcommer’s enthusiasm. Then it’s about, here are the books. We’re breaking the story and pages are coming out, but it’s more of a conversation than actual writing…We’re looking – not so much for story, but for tone – at the Matt Fraction stuff. That series seems to be informed as much by our movie as by what happened with Iron Man before. It’s informed by current events. I’m very impressed by what he’s written.
On storytelling in comic-book films…
FAVREAU: There’s always a sense of “let’s save something for another movie.” But I think there’s a way to wade into it. In Spider-Man, he seems to be dealing with different issues in each film because they’re very modular. But we want to stretch our movie out like three chapters of the same story… These are smart audiences now with the capacity to understand long-form, complex storytelling, and you’re starting to see it more in TV and videogames. Movies are kind of what they are. It’s like a rock and roll song – you’ve got your thing, your bridge and your end. So how do you keep making rock and roll songs, but also do the White Album? How do you put it all together with other movies and make it something that’s a larger experience for people who are paying attention, but yet not so complex that if you’re not paying attention you’re going to not have fun? I’m a pretty smart audience member and I just don’t have that attention span, so I want to figure out if I can get a better version of that while still upping the ante of what you’re putting on the screen and the humor and the dialogue.
Click on the link below to read the entire indepth interview. It’s a good one
Release date: Friday September 19, 2008 Genre: Comedy Director: David Koepp Studio: DreamWorks Pictures/Paramount Pictures Producers: Gavin Polone Screenplay: David Koepp, John Kamps Cast: Ricky Gervais, Téa Leoni, Greg Kinnear, Billy Campbell, Kristen Wiig, Dana Ivey Official Site:ghosttownmovie.com Rating:PG-13 for some strong language, sexual humor and drug references Available film art: Ghost Town movie posters
Synopsis In the comedy “Ghost Town,” Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Even worse, they all want something from him, particularly Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen (Téa Leoni). That puts Pincus squarely in the middle of a triangle, with spirited results.
The The Invasion is the only big movie being released this week. Click on the link below to purchase the movie poster:
The Invasion (Sci-Fi) – The mysterious crash of the space shuttle leads to the terrifying discovery that there is something alien within the wreckage. Those who come in contact with it are changing in ominous and inexplicable ways. Soon Washington, DC psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and her friend, Dr. Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig), learn the shocking truth about the growing extraterrestrial epidemic: it attacks its victims while they sleep, leaving them physically unchanged but strangely unfeeling and inhuman. As the infection spreads, more and more people are altered and it becomes impossible to know who can be trusted. Now Carol’s only hope is to stay awake long enough to find her young son, who may hold the key to stopping the devastating invasion.
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright, Veronica Cartwright, Malin Akerman, Q-Tip, Alexis Raben; Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Synopsis: A stylistically daring CGI feature, “Surf’s Up” is based on the groundbreaking revelation that surfing was actually invented by penguins.
In the film, a documentary crew will take audiences behind the scenes and onto the waves during the most competitive, heartbreaking and dangerous display of surfing known to man, the Penguin World Surfing Championship.
Cast: VOICES OF:, Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Diedrich Bader; Directed by: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
Former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger (MARK WAHLBERG, left) meets with Col. Isaac Johnson (DANNY GLOVER)
Shooter – Trailer
Synopis: A marksman (Mark Wahlberg) living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why.
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Rade Sherbedgia, Ned Beatty; Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Synopsis: Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy. The film brings Miller’s (Sin City) acclaimed graphic novel to life by combining live action with virtual backgrounds that capture his distinct vision of this ancient historic tale.
Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Rodrigo Santoro, Andrew Tiernan, Andrew Pleavin; Directed by: Zack Snyder
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Synopsis: Sixty-one years ago, US and Japanese armies met on Iwo Jima. Decades later, several hundred letters are unearthed from that stark island’s soil. The letters give faces and voices to the men who fought there, as well as the extraordinary general who led them.
The Japanese soldiers are sent to Iwo Jima knowing that in all probability they will not come back. Among them are Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker who wants only to live to see the face of his newborn daughter; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an Olympic equestrian champion known around the world for his skill and his honor; Shimizu (Ryo Kase), a young former military policeman whose idealism has not yet been tested by war; and Lieutenant Ito (Shidou Nakamura), a strict military man who would rather accept suicide than surrender.
Leading the defense is Lt. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe), whose travels in America have revealed to him the hopeless nature of the war but also given him strategic insight into how to take on the vast American armada streaming in from across the Pacific.
With little defense other than sheer will and the volcanic rock of the island itself, Gen. Kuribayashi’s unprecedented tactics transform what was predicted to be a quick and bloody defeat into nearly 40 days of heroic and resourceful combat.
Almost 7,000 American soldiers were killed on Iwo Jima; more than 20,000 Japanese troops perished. The black sands of Iwo Jima are stained with their blood, but their sacrifices, their struggles, their courage and their compassion live on in the letters they sent home.
In an era when special effects generally overwhelm human imagination, it’s a rare and special privilege to see a movie that celebrates the virtues of thinking, feeling and creating over the sum total of ones and zeroes that can be accumulated in a 120-minute span of storytelling. Bridge to Terabithia, adapted from Katherine Patterson’s beloved children’s novel by Rugrats creator Gabor Csupo, is a real anachronism in today’s family-movie landscape, if for no other reason than it simply and accurately portrays the interior life of adolescents.
And while the almost 30-year old story is indeed spruced up with some Narnia-style CGI to suit the sophisticated 10- and 15-year olds who will undoubtedly be enjoying its otherwise understated charms, this is a film that shares company with the likes of Zathura, Toy Story and even E.T. as a sweet and satisfying celebration of what it’s like to think and feel like a kid.
Terabithia stars Josh Hutcherson (of Zathura and the imminently more effects-driven Polar Express) as Jess Aarons, the only boy in a family of girls. Estranged from his classmates because of his pink hand-me-down sneakers and pop Jack’s (Robert Patrick) low-wage job at a local hardware store, he frequently retreats into the world of his drawings. But when the opportunity arises to show his stuff at school in a foot race, he eagerly steps up to compete. He loses the race, but in the process makes friends with the winner: Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb), a newcomer to his sleepy town who similarly has trouble fitting in.
Soon enough, Jess and Leslie become best friends, literally creating new worlds where their imaginations can flourish. After finding a rope swing in the woods behind Jess’ house, the pair is inspired to create Terabithia, a magical world where playground bullies and personal problems take fantastic new forms. As the two grow closer, they discover strength and confidence in one another — and especially themselves — they never knew was possible, in the process making their first furtive steps towards adulthood.
Most movies about teenagers these days seem to focus on one thing — namely, how awful the experience is because the protagonist is forced to grow up way to quick via drugs or peer pressure (see Kids, Bully, Alpha Dog, etc.). Although this movie is admittedly geared toward a slightly younger audience than the aforementioned films, Terabithia more accurately displays the childhood experience by presenting kids who are desperate and afraid to test the boundaries of their fledgling adulthood, parents who no longer know how to deal with their children, and the torment of enduring the whole experience with a schoolyard full of other struggling adolescents.
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