Kevin Feige's already spilled on what Marvel's "Iron Man 3" director Shane Black brings to the saga of Tony Stark and hinted at what the future holds for the film's cast, but now he digs even deeper into the movie's story in another installment of "Iron Man 3: Under the Armor"!
In case you missed them, you can catch up on our talk with Feige in Part One and Part Two, and scroll down now to learn more about the world in which we find Tony Stark when the film begins and the dark events that lie waiting for him just on the horizon.
|"Iron Man 3" flies into theaters and IMAX 3D May 3|
Marvel.com: You mentioned the one kid we see in this film, Harley. What was it about Ty Simpkins that you liked so much?
Kevin Feige: In the first draft of the script, Shane and Drew [Pearce] had written a character named Harley, who spends some time with Tony over the course of the second-half of the film. We haven’t done a lot of films with kids in them and we were nervous. We were nervous about having a kid that was too much like a Hollywood kid or too much like an actor kid, who you could tell was acting cute or who was pretending to be emotional or who was pretending to be “aw shucks, I’m from Tennessee.” We had to audition lots and lots and lots of kids because we wanted to find a kid who could pull it off, or it was not going to work.
The whole idea would fail if we had an actor that you didn’t believe or a little kid who was just too cutesy. Robert [Downey, Jr.] was very generous with his time and attended a lot of the auditions with the kids. So you had kids that thought they were really cool and tried to be as cool as Robert and that didn’t work, and you had kids that were just in awe of Robert and that didn’t work, and then we found a kid who acted like a kid around Robert and who adlibbed with Robert in a very honest way. Robert is spectacular, as we learned on this film, at getting a truthful and honest performance out of a kid.
And Ty [Simpkins] was that kid. Ty did an amazing job in his audition and had us tearing up a little bit, not that there’s a lot of sobby scenes in the movie, but tearing up a little bit as he’s relaying a little story about his own father to Tony Stark. While he didn’t have the biggest resume as some of the other kids we were auditioning, he was clearly the winner.
|Tony Stark's new Mark 42 armor in "Iron Man 3"|
He’s real, which is what we wanted Tony Stark to encounter in the middle of the country. When we told Robert, he said that it was great news, but he had one request--he wanted to make the call to Ty himself. So, we got Ty’s cell phone number and his phone rang with Robert Downey, Jr. calling him saying, “You got the part.” It was great and they really bonded in a fun way from that point, all the way through the rehearsal process and through production.
Marvel.com: What’s new in terms of Tony Stark’s repulsor technology and armors?
Kevin Feige: I’ve always said the fun thing about this franchise is that Tony is a tinkerer. He’s a mechanic, he fixes things; his technology evolves. At the beginning of the film, Tony is working on a way of getting the suit onto him as quickly as possible. In "Iron Man" he has to stand in a gantry and have the suit be built around him. In “Iron Man 2” it’s the same idea; that gantry that takes quite a while, and you need a giant gantry to assemble the suit onto him. In “ Marvel's The Avengers” we see a slight advancement in the technology. If you remember, Loki throws him out the window. He seems to be plummeting to his death when he calls something on his wrists and a big, bulky, piano-sized device comes flying out after him and ends up wrapping around him and that turns out to be the Mark VII. Tony’s taken that idea of a suit that can deploy to him even further at the beginning of this film, and we have what we call the prehensile suit, which allows each individual piece of the suit to fly separately and latch on to him.
|Iron Man worse for wear in "Iron Man 3"|
It doesn’t quite work perfectly, but it is a great advancement that Tony uses throughout this movie, so that wherever he is, theoretically, he can call it to him and it can arrive. It doesn’t always work, and there’s a great scene in the movie, which we gave a little taste of to fans at Comic-Con this year in a giveaway of an art poster that Ryan Meinerding had done, where the entire suit doesn’t come to him. He just gets one glove and one boot and has to fight off a battalion of bad guys with just the boot and just the glove.
It’s often the limitations of the suit that can provide the most fun--when the suit breaks, when the suit doesn’t quite work--and there’s that in spades. We also, though, hint early on in the film by mentioning that this is not the Mark VIII as you might think because the Mark VII was the last suit revealed in “Marvel's The Avengers.” It’s the Mark 42. So there are well over 30 suits that Tony has built in between the time of “Marvel's The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3” because of his obsession.
By the end of the film, we see each and every one of them, and you realize Tony is a mechanic and he has been tinkering. Any conceivable idea he had about the suit technology he built and stored in his Hall of Armor. Finally, after talking about it for four movies we finally see his Hall of Armor and the giant army of suits that he’s built for himself.
|War Machine becomes the Iron Patriot in "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: Talk about the Iron Patriot and the evolution of War Machine.
Kevin Feige: A few years ago in publishing, they created a suit called the Iron Patriot, which was an advanced Iron Man suit painted red, white and blue with a star on it. In the comics it’s a different character that wears it and utilizes it. But we really loved that image; we thought it was a striking image. And coming off of “Marvel's The Avengers” where you have Captain America and Captain America is such a symbol for the Avengers, we thought it would be fun if the United States wanted to have their own version of that. Of course, Captain America works for the United States, but as he’s more of an Avengers hero the US government said, “We want our own,” which is why they take War Machine and rebrand him as the Iron Patriot.
Now over the course of the film we learn that there was a nefarious purpose behind that. It’s a great example of how sometimes you take and stay true to a character as pulled from the comics, and sometimes the comics can be the kernel of an idea that you then flesh out and build into something else. One of the best things about being a part of Marvel Studios is that you have the house of ideas; you have the publishing division that comes out with dozens of books a month and we flip through almost every one of those books every month and just pull things and don’t know where they could be used. But you know, a few years ago we pulled out the Iron Patriot and said, “That’s cool. Wouldn’t that be fun to play with that someday?” And you’ll see it in “Iron Man 3.”
|Ben Kingsley plays the villainous Mandarin in "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: How will the Ten Rings play into the story?
Kevin Feige: The Ten Rings is a terrorist organization that we set up in “Iron Man,” and it really is something that is only for the eagle-eye fans. Yinsen, in “Iron Man,” says they call themselves the Ten Rings, and that was our allusion to the ten rings of the Mandarin. In “Iron Man 2,” in a deleted scene, it is a member of this Ten Rings organization that gives Whiplash the credentials that allow him to infiltrate the Monaco race and come in and cut Tony Stark’s car in half. In this movie again we wanted to explore a little bit more of this terrorist notion of the Ten Rings, which is why you’ll sometimes see the Ten Rings’ flag as seen in “Iron Man” behind the Mandarin in a couple of his terrorist videos that he puts out around the world. But it all goes to the ten rings of the Mandarin himself, and you will see the famous ten rings on Sir Ben [Kingsley], and, frankly, fitting Sir Ben with the ten rings as designed by Russell Bobbitt, our prop master, was one of those “Oh my god we’re actually doing this; the comics are coming to life in front of us,” moments on “Iron Man 3,” and Ben wears them well.
Marvel.com: Are the reveals still just as exciting for you when you see them?
Kevin Feige: They are exciting and it happened on this movie with the new Mark 42. It also happened when Shane and I saw the Iron Patriot for the first time and what the guys at Legacy had done with this suit. Each suit gets better and better. The Iron Patriot practical suit that was worn on set is the best practical suit they’ve ever built. Then the moment when the ten rings came in and we watched Sir Ben fitting them for the first time was great too.
|Robert Downey, Jr. stars as Tony Stark/Iron Man in "Iron Man 3"|
Marvel.com: Talk about the Air Force One stunt and how that was shot and executed.
Kevin Feige: Our writers had a great idea, which played to the theme of putting Tony in a situation that you don’t know how he’s going to get out of. Shane and Drew’s idea was basically to throw 13 people out of an airplane and have Jarvis tell Tony he can only carry four of them. So how in the world, as they’re plummeting to their death, is Iron Man going to be able to save them all?
And they came up with this notion of Barrel of Monkeys, this Hasbro game, where you connect all the monkeys together and see how many of these little plastic monkeys you can latch together by their fingers. And Tony begins to fly down and begins to grab onto people and tells those people to grab onto the next person. And suddenly with this great show of teamwork you have 13 people all latched onto each other with Iron Man blowing his repulsors to stop their fall.
We didn’t know if it was going to work. We did storyboards for it and some pre-vis for it and started to realize this could be really cool. This is going to be great. We wanted to see how he’s going to get out of this. And the discussion was how are we going to film this? Our second unit director Brian Smrz and our stunt team said, “Why don’t we just throw 13 people out of a plane and film it?”
|Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) in "Iron Man 3"|
Over 8 days, with 10 jumps a day, that’s exactly what happened. So that sequence, which is one of the showcase sequences of the film, is practical, with the exception of Iron Man, of course, and a few certain shots. This amazing Red Bull stunt team jumped out of a plane, time and time again, day after day, and fell as if they were plummeting to their death, grabbing onto each other.
In our movies, there are certain things that you can do for real and there are certain things that that you do with CG. And while we love CG and we’d never be able to make a movie without it, if there’s something that you can do practically, it’s usually better to attempt to do it that way. This was by far the biggest practical stunt scene we’ve ever done in any of our films, bigger than anything in the previous Iron Man films and bigger than anything in “Marvel's The Avengers.”
Marvel.com: How will “Iron Man 3” fit into the overall plans for The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two?
Kevin Feige: When we began Marvel Studios and started making our own films, we were tasked with making two films a year. As we decided to link those films together--as had been done with the comics--to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I thought it would be fun to not only look at them as individual films and as individual franchises between Iron Man and Thor and Captain America, but also that the first six films from “Iron Man” to “Marvel's The Avengers” equals sort of Phase One.
|Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) goes back to basics in "Iron Man 3"|
As we get now into Phase Two, “Iron Man 3” represents the beginning of what will be Phase Two and culminate probably in “Marvel's The Avengers 2.” What was important to us in Phase One was acclimating an audience who maybe never read the comics, who didn’t know that Iron Man and Thor and Hulk all inhabited the same Marvel universe in the comics, and start seeding that idea through the films to get them used to the notion that these characters live in the same world; that this is a shared universe, and it’s all leading to “ Marvel's The Avengers.” And that worked and they have embraced “Marvel's The Avengers” beyond our wildest expectations.
Now with the beginning of Phase Two, the audience knows that. The audience knows there are connective tissues leading to it and will continue so now we have the leeway and the ability to have fun with that, just like they do in the comics. We can have fun and surprises with who connects where. But what was important to us with “Iron Man 3,” the first film in our new Phase Two, is that it stands apart and stands on its own.
Taking Tony Stark from “Marvel's The Avengers” into such a personal solo individual journey was always the goal. We remind audiences that Tony Stark is an incredibly fascinating character on his own and begin to build from that. He certainly inhabits that super hero world and that shared universe, but we wanted to do this individual Tony story to show that as interesting as they are all together, they’re equally interesting on their solo journeys.
Marvek.com: What’s been the most gratifying part of this journey for you and for Marvel?
Kevin Feige: The most gratifying part of the journey thus far at Marvel Studios is seeing the worldwide global movie audience respond to these films. It is incredibly gratifying that people have responded to what comic fans have known for decades--that this kind of shared ongoing saga and mythology is of interest. I think people like the notion of going to see a film that fits into a broader mythological framework.
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.