Ain't it Cool sits down for an exclusive chat with Marvel's "it" boy Jon Favreau. The director, who is in development on 'Iron Man 2' and just signed on as an executive producer for 'The Avengers' talks at length about both movies and working in a universe of storytelling, something that's unique to Marvel's current wave of movies.
Favreau said that screenwriter Justin Theroux ('Tropic Thunder') is close to finishing the first draft of the screenplay.
"We’re boarding and been creating animatics for the action sequences. We’re starting to do some location scouting and designing some sets and figuring out how much of it we want to… you know, what techniques we’re going to use."
The director also revealed that 'Samurai Jack' and 'Clone Wars' animator Genndy Tartakovsky is involved with the story boarding process. "I really dig his sense of humor and his sense of rhythm, and the way that he acknowledges the same cinematic masters that I really love the work of, like Kurosawa and Leone. And he finds a way to pastiche it without ever undermining the stakes or the reality of the tension that’s created in his action sequences."
Fravreau says he's looking to successful sequels, like 'Empire Strikes Back' and 'The Wrath of Kahn' for inspiration on how to make an 'Iron Man 2' that exceeds the first. Most important is to move the chracter forward. To some degree that involves delving into Tony Stark's alcoholism.
" We’re definitely going to use alcohol...if you look at twelve step programs, that are probably the most effective way of dealing with an addiction, you’ll see that they spend very little time dealing with the actual thing you’re addicted to: substance. Most of the steps become about dealing with your spiritual health and delving deeper into what’s underneath the addiction," Favreau said.
"And I think in that respect it’s very telling as to what… it’s a matter of discovering what Tony Stark’s issues are that he’s dealing with that’s causing him to drink, causing him to womanize, causing him to escape and run in whatever way he does. And that’s what’s compelling especially when you have a guy like Robert, who can really handle this kind of a storyline. Of course you don’t want to overwhelm the film. I want to maintain the tone we had with the first one, for the most part. Nolan has cornered the market on that tone and does it well. It’s not what I do well or what I want to see in IRON MAN. "
A challenge unique to working with Marvel characters is dealing with overlap between a slate of films that are all designed to work together: 'Iron Man 2', 'Thor', 'Captain America' and 'The Avengers'. One of the most exciiting things about 'Iron Man' was the inclusion of elements like S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as Captain America's shield in a background scene.
"So, we were really paying attention, of course now it becomes more and more difficult because we’re weaving… it has to culminate in the AVENGERS. Which, although I won’t be directing it, I’ll be involved with it as an executive producer and I would feel really disappointed if what good will we’ve curried from IRON MAN 1 and hopefully 2, is not lived up to in the AVENGERS."
To that end, Favreau is an executive producer on 'Avengers', but it also appears he'll have some form of consultation on the other movies as well.
"...I’m going to get a little more involved now with what goes on with the other movies. I’m very excited about Kenneth Branagh, I can’t wait to see his take on THOR and we’re really looking at the Cap stuff, very closely.
"For one because we put the shield in there and Tony’s legacy… Howard Stark’s legacy somehow is related to… there’s some relationship between Tony’s father and what was going on in World War II, in the Marvel Universe, and Shield, so we’re trying to lay some pipe here so that when it all happens it feels somewhat inevitable."
Click through to the complete interview for Favreau's extensive comments on the state of the art of filmmaking, what went right with 'Iron Man' and where he goes from here.