Robert Downey and Don Cheadle had both assembled impressive careers when they first joined forces on Iron Man 2: Downey continuing his wildly successful turn as Tony Stark, Cheadle taking over from Terrence Howard in the part of Jim Rhodes. They revise their parts for Iron Man 3, and bring with them the chemistry and camaraderie from the second film. It was on full display at the press conference for Part 3, as they bantered easily with each other to the point of answering each other’s questions. A partial transcript of their comments follows.
Question: Robert, what did you felt was your biggest challenge with number three for this?
Robert Downey: Right now my biggest challenge is this Guantanamo lighting we have here. [Holds hand up to face.] I think the big challenge this time was… these movies are only ever as good as their bad guys. Once we cast Sir Ben [Kingsley], half our troubles went away. We also wanted to have some things happen with Pepper in the arc: that was kind of overdue. And I really wanted it to feel like Tony and Rhodey had this kind of power of their partnership, and to see that power in action.
Don Cheadle: This iteration of the film really is something that Robert and I talked about after the second. He came to me and said, "Now, let's try and really kick this relationship off, and really try to see who these guys are." I think you see the relationship has strengthened in this one, and it's sort of pays off on the promise that I think was made at the end of Iron Man 2 in the Japanese garden, where these guys really started busting each other's chops. They're friends, but they still really help balance one another, and I thought that really came to fruition in this one.
Q: For Don, which one do you prefer: Iron Patriot or War Machine?
Don Cheadle: The Iron Patriot armor is about three kilos heavier. So I prefer War Machine. In the second one, Robert kept talking about how much more lightweight the armor was. And I was like, “Mine weighs 7,000 pounds! What are you talking about?”
RD: I admit we're wimps. In Iron Man 2, Don's suit was so hard to even pick up to put on him. And the hardest thing about this stuff is all the accoutrements. I mean Ben was essentially in special effects makeup the whole time. We've all had these moments, but you always wonder where your kharma is going to come grab you with the heavy make-up or the cumbersome costume. And Don has had to pay that piper for some reason or other.
DC: Robert was like, "Is that heavy enough? Shouldn't you have something else on there?” It was fun.
RD: I promise you my dearest brother I will never allow that to happen to you again. I make all of my commitments in public.
Gwyneth [Paltrow], by the way, she did come in during her scene with the armor. And she was having a ball, and her kids were there and she was in rocking shape. So it was all nice and easy for her. I think she wore it once or twice. It's an accumulative issue.
Q: For Robert, where would you like to see Iron Man go next emotionally? And for Don, your character gets to use his suit more in this film, and you also get to see more of his actual military training. Which do you prefer more: being in the suit more or showing off what a great solider that he is without the suit?
DC: Do you remember the first one for you?
RD: I seem to have wound up with two glasses of water in front of me. So I'm absolutely out of my mind right now.
DC: I prefer being out of the suit. The suit is great, and it's great to be able to achieve all the things that we want to achieve with the CGI and the motion capture and all that. But I had the most fun running around with Robert, and us actually physically going after it. And a lot of fun for me in this one was being able to do a lot of action outside of the suit, and getting to work with the stunt team and doing a lot of the cable work. That was just a big thrill for me.
Q: And Robert?
RD: I don't know. These things kind of come out of creative discussions, and there's always something to talk about when we're shooting. “Oh, wouldn't it be great ...” But a lot of those things have kind of come true already. I was always saying, "God, I just want to see Pepper in the suit. I want to see her experience what Tony gets from it, and I want her to help him transcend it.” Wish fulfillment happens pretty quick in the Marvel Universe. So I don't have any particular goals with it right now.
Q: Robert, since the aftermath of The Avengers has had such an impact on Tony, what was your take on how much you could refer to that in the movie? How much we want to hear about what happened in The Avengers, and how much Tony doesn't want to talk about it?
RD: It's weird when one movie that's connected to another doesn't reference that movie at all. You know what I mean? It seems like we were so busy trying to make our thing work that we didn't have space. So I think it would lack confidence if we didn't. I just like the idea of this kid kind of getting under my skin with his questions about New York. I like the idea of kids bringing their parents to the verge of an anxiety attack. And I thought that was a nice way to refer back to The Avengers. We needed reasons, and sometimes you can just look at the bigger picture to help you out.
We're always aware of those issues. On the first Iron Man, Jon Favreau and I went out to Comic Con, and he holds up his flip phone, and he goes, "This is how it's working from now. The audience is talking back, and they're going to ask you that question. ‘In the post Avengers world, what was it like for Tony and this and that?’" So you kind of have to think about it, and you have to address it creatively. Marvel is very, very aware of that and I don’t think they’re going to drop the ball.
Q: There was a definite finality in this movie, but you know you're never going to get rid of this character. You're too perfect for it. So how go negotiations for 4, 5 and 6?
RD: I'm not at liberty to discuss that. The future as usual is uncertain. We never could have known what and who was going to come together for the third Iron Man. And usually the third of anything struggles to meet the first two. I’m just glad we got this far. Things are very much in flux right now and Marvel has their plans and we're all living and growing. We'll see what happens.