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Iron Man 3

Robert Downey, Jr. Suits Up in Iron Man 3

The star of Marvel's 'Iron Man 3' talks about donning the helmet once more!

By Marc Strom

When Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” hits theaters and IMAX 3D May 3, Robert Downey, Jr. will don the helmet once more following the previous Iron Man films and last summer’s blockbuster “Marvel’s The Avengers.”

"Iron Man 3" hits theaters & IMAX 3D May 3

With the second full trailer for the film now revealed, we spoke with Downey, Jr. about returning to the iconic super hero, working with incoming director Shane Black and how his approach to Tony Stark has changed since the first Iron Man.

After playing the role of Tony Stark four times, the star’s approach to the character has changed over time.

“When I did the first Iron Man I had all the answers, because I was saying, ‘this [character] is essentially an extension of myself,’” notes the actor. “I’m going to draw all these parallels. What I [hadn’t] seen in this kind of a genre movie [was] someone [with] a certain naturalism and a confidence, but a vulnerability. Someone who kind of talks to inanimate objects and has arguments with them because it seemed to me like a generational tie-in back to the war-torn and counterculture ‘60s in which Iron Man [first] appeared and so that, to me, reminds me of my own family and my own upbringing.

Robert Downey, Jr. stars in "Iron Man 3"

“I felt like, and it was important that I did even though I was not correct, I was the authority on this the first time we did it and every time it’s gone by I feel like I’m less and less desirous of taking that approach.”

For the third solo Iron Man film, Downey, Jr. and the filmmakers wanted to bring things back to basics.

“Everyone kept telling me ‘there is nothing you need to set up,’” Downey, Jr. said. “You know [when] you have all these restrictions and you kind of rail against them? I like that stuff sometimes. I think that limitations and restrictions create a whole new set of neural pathways that are creatively stimulating. [But] then this time they go, ‘Let’s just get back to nuts and bolts Tony stuff.’ I was like great, but which nuts.”

The Armored Avenger takes to the skies in "Iron Man 3"

One of Tony Stark’s signature characteristics is his fast wit and bravado, things the fans have come to love. Now that Tony’s story has evolved, Downey, Jr. didn’t want to lose sight of that part of his character while also moving him forward.

“He was kind of an a-hole, but we really liked him and I didn’t want to do the thing where the more of a ‘solid guy’ he becomes, somehow or another the more engaging he is,” remarked Downey, Jr. “I don’t think that’s impossible, but…we just remembered oh yeah, he’s someone who has a magnet [in his chest] which is keeping shrapnel from ending his life like that. I remember in one of the old comic series, there was some doctor he was going to go to and he was going to get it out, but how would your girlfriend feel? It’s like a dependency. How would your girlfriend feel if you were still leaning on this thing?”

Speaking of Tony’s girlfriend, Gwyneth Paltrow returns once more as Pepper Potts, a character that Downey, Jr. feels brings something unique to the Iron Man story.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, Jr. star as Pepper Potts and Tony Stark/Iron Man in "Iron Man 3"

“Somebody reminded me of this and it was probably [‘Iron Man 3’ Producer] Kevin [Feige], there’s never been a super hero in these genre films where the guy is in a committed relationship. So we thought the strength in that is it sends a better message than, ‘Don’t you want to be like this guy who dates Nicole Kidman one year and Kim Basinger the next?’ Yes you do, but there’s no stability there,” laughs Downey, Jr.

“But I think what’s important is that there has to be conflict in the relationship, and there has to be resolution that isn’t [a return to] the same. We’ve seen before in ‘Marvel’s The Avengers,’ she wasn’t originally in that story but I said you’ve go to [have her]. I can’t just pretend that I got in a fight with Rhodey and Pepper’s out of town, I need both of them. And they said you can’t have both of them, so I said all right, I need Pepper.”

Shane Black joins the Iron Man family as director and co-writer of the new film, but fans may be surprised to learn he actually had a small hand in the first movie as well.

“Shooting ‘Iron Man,’ there were times that we’d call Shane Black,” recalled Downey, Jr. “We couldn’t get him to come in and actually do anything for us, but and we called him Blueberries because we’d go over to his house and [sit in] this big library with every book that’s ever been written [about] storytelling and being a writer. [And he’d say], ‘So what do you guys want to talk about, the movie?’ We’d say, ‘Yeah, that’s kind of why we drove here.’ He’d say, ‘I don’t want to get into a thing with a deal and all that so just bring over a piece of salmon well done and maybe some fresh blueberries,’ so that became the barter. We reached out to him a bunch, particularly in the first Iron Man scene where he comes back from captivity and addresses the press, and Shane said it should be all about his dad and what would his dad think.”

Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley, “Iron Man 3” is directed by Shane Black from a screenplay by Drew Pearce and Shane Black and is based on Marvel’s iconic super hero Iron Man, who first appeared in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 in 1963 and had his solo comic book debut with THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 in May of 1968.

“Iron Man 3” is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures and DMG Entertainment. Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing and Jon Favreau, Louis D'Esposito, Stephen Broussard, Victoria Alonso, Alan Fine, Charles Newirth, Stan Lee and Dan Mintz are executive producers. The film releases May 3, 2013, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

In addition to "Iron Man 3," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Thor: The Dark World" on November 8, 2013; "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" on April 4, 2014; "Guardians of the Galaxy" on August 1, 2014; the untitled "Marvel's The Avengers" sequel on May 1, 2015; and "Ant-Man" on November 6, 2015.

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