You can't make an Iron Man movie without a little Pepper.
The premiere of Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” will mark the triumphant return of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts to the big screen, her fourth turn as the character after the first two Iron Man films and "Marvel's The Avengers." And while she's served as Tony Stark’s partner since "Iron Man," Paltrow has tackled a vast array of characters outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, garnering her an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
In our latest installment of "Iron Man 3: Under the Armor," Paltrow recounts her experience on the film, including the chance to finally suit up in some Stark tech herself!
|Pepper and Tony stand together in a poster for "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: Where do we find Pepper in “Iron Man 3”?
Gwyneth Paltrow: When we find Pepper in “Iron Man 3,” she and Tony Stark are very much in a relationship. They’re living together, she’s moved into his house in Malibu, and she’s still running Stark Industries, so their lives are very intertwined. There’s a lot of comfort between them now, so it’s not the kind of tentative relationship they had in the first [movie]. It’s very comfortable. I think you get the sense that they know each other very well and they’re in a serious relationship.
Marvel.com: Is it fun to get to play more romantically with Robert Downey, Jr. in this film as opposed to the tension?
Gwyneth Paltrow: It’s very nice to have the relationship evolve over the course of a few pictures, and especially now. Robert and I have always had a really great working relationship and we’re very happy working together, and it’s nice to phase it into something else. It’s still all the banter, but it’s less tenuous.
Marvel.com: You get to wear the suit in this one. Were you ever expecting to do that?
|Gwyneth Paltrow in her own character poster for "Iron Man 3"|
Gwyneth Paltrow: There were talks of Pepper getting in the suit at the end of “Iron Man 2,” but Marvel wasn’t ready to do it yet. I think in the comic books she does eventually get into the suit and she has her own suit, and I know Robert was really interested in having Pepper do more in this movie, and it was also a factor in me coming back and getting to do things that were a little bit more fun and different and a little bit more adventurous. It would’ve still been nice, but it would’ve been very much the same thing just to be buttoned-up Pepper, and in this movie there’s a whole different experience of her.
Marvel.com: How hard is it to physically wear that suit?
Gwyneth Paltrow: I didn’t mind wearing the suit at all. I thought it was light and perfectly comfortable and my children thought I was extremely cool. They were here on a day where I was in it, so they were trying it on and when my son saw me in the suit, he had the biggest eyes, so it was definitely worth it.
|Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Pepper Potts in "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: Is it cool for them to see Robert Downey, Jr. now that they understand he is Iron Man?
Gwyneth Paltrow: It’s funny because they didn’t realize it for a long time. My son was only one on the first movie, so obviously he had really no clue for "Iron Man" or “Iron Man 2,” but now for this movie he’s six and he’s super into Iron Man and Hulk. I remember the day he kind of put it together that Robert was Iron Man, because he has had an affinity for Robert his whole life. He really loves Robert, and now the fact that Robert’s Iron Man just puts an extra little spin on it. My kids loved him anyway, but it’s really fun I think for a little boy to realize that he’s friends with Iron Man.
Marvel.com: How hard did you have to commit to get into shape for Marvel’s “Iron Man”?
Gwyneth Paltrow: I’m a person who works out anyway, but I felt like for this movie that I needed to be in excellent shape. So a couple of weeks before I came back, I really hit it super hard and I tried to watch what I ate, which I’m not so good at doing. But I was very focused because I really wanted the whole end sequence to be unexpected and I thought if people saw me like that, fighting and in really good shape, that it would be an extra bonus for the movie to have.
|Iron Man and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: In this movie it seems like Iron Man is more vulnerable than ever before.
Gwyneth Paltrow: I think the reason why Tony Stark is such a popular cinematic hero is because of his vulnerability. I think in the second movie he was at his least vulnerable. In the first movie, he goes into his vulnerability and he finds it, and he sort of finds his humanity. And in this movie you really see his cracks. You really see the psychology behind why he is going through this metamorphosis that he needs to go through. He went through a dark period in his life, but I think in this movie he’s really trying to reconcile what’s what and who he wants to be and the direction that he wants to go in. Robert plays that kind of thing so beautifully. He’s an actor that can play so many notes at once, and it’s wonderful to see. The scene where he sends a fake Iron Man to Pepper and pretends it’s him could be that classic man thing of, “I just don’t want to deal with my girlfriend,” but I think it’s really Tony not wanting to be intimate. It’s a barrier between Pepper and Tony that he doesn’t necessarily want to cross. I think it’s painful for him to fully commit to her with his whole heart, because there’s a lot in there and he’s still reckoning with how to deal with it.
|Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, Jr. star as Pepper Potts and Tony Stark/Iron Man in "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: You and Jon Favreau have a lot of great scenes together in this movie. How is it working with him in this film?
Gwyneth Paltrow: I was so thrilled that Jon was coming back. It was a little weird because I was used to him in the director’s seat, and at first it was strange having him on set and listening to somebody else tell me what to do. But Jon is so valuable to this franchise; he’s an integral part of Marvel’s success. It’ so cool that he came back to reprise his role of Happy Hogan and be in the film. It was really great to have him. I can’t imagine being on an Iron Man set without him.
Marvel.com: Why do you think Iron Man seems to be the cornerstone of the Marvel films and the one audiences always go back to?
Gwyneth Paltrow: I think the reason that Iron Man is so successful is because he’s that classic archetypal figure of somebody with incredible light and darkness, and that’s the story of all of us. We’re always trying to reconcile both sides of ourselves and all parts of ourselves, and there’s something about Iron Man that encompasses all of those qualities and it’s what we strive to do--accept our dark and make our light brighter. Robert is incredibly charismatic and funny, and I think the Pepper and Tony relationship is always at the heart of the movies. People love to see that relationship. So many people said about “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “I’m so happy Pepper was in [there].” It gave the movie a center. Even though it was one scene, I think Pepper’s relationship to Tony is something that keeps the movie grounded. It’s always in reality, and it’s always funny and full of love but always witty. It’s a real relationship. I think people like to see that and they like to see a woman who’s so loving and supportive of her man but also keeps him in check. It’s a really sweet relationship.
|Gwyneth Paltrow and Guy Pearce star as Pepper Potts and Aldrich Killian in "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: Set up the relationship between Aldrich -Killian and Pepper.
Gwyneth Paltrow: The idea is that Pepper and Killian knew each other previously. She mentions that she worked for him a long time ago and that he had asked her out and she wasn’t interested, so he’s always carried a little bit of a flame. It turns out to be a very complex layer of the plot--this sort of unrequited thing that he had for Pepper--and it motivates him to do some very scary things.
Marvel.com: This third installment is going to be a bit of a shift from the first two. What do you think this film is going to be?
Gwyneth Paltrow: I’m really curious to see this film because I feel that where it begins and where it ends is kind of brave and different and really interesting. And I think we’ve set ourselves up well for that. At the end of the first movie Tony Stark says, “I am Iron Man,” which is an unexpected thing. Normally, it’s left in the dark. The movies always end in an unexpected way, and I think this movie ends in a really unexpected way, and there’s real heart to it. It’s about discovering yourself and what’s really important. And of course it’s done with all the fireworks and action and excitement, but there’s really heart underneath it.
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.