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Behind the Scenes of Iron Man with Director Jon Favreau


Jon Favreau Photo

Jon Favreau

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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What is it like to show footage at Comic Con with 7,000 people watching?
“Well it was awesome because you don’t know if you could die on the vine here. If they decide you’re Catwoman, you’re done. Comic Con can drive the stake through the heart of a property like this where it’s not like Superman or Batman or Spider-Man where everybody knows it in our culture. This is something where there’s going to be an education process. So by showing it to the fans first, they were going to decide whether they like the movie or not based on what we show them. And from here we could build out.

But it’s knowing what the challenges of each title are. In this film the challenge was knowing and satisfying the fans of the books. In another movie, it’s reinventing a franchise that’s been done before. Each movie has its own. In our case, this is the place to show the footage for the first time and I think the gamble paid off. People seem to respond to it from what I’ve read online, from what I’ve seen, what I felt in the room. And now Paramount, who’s distributing the film, is like, ‘We’ve got to get a trailer together.’ They were the same people, ‘We shouldn’t show a trailer yet,’ when Transformers was coming out. ‘It’s too early.’ Now when they saw the fan response here, it’s changing the way they approach things. So Comic Con is a very valuable way of putting your finger on the pulse of pop culture, and pop culture is being driven by fanboys right now. So, lucky for us, Iron Man is a title that they like and hopefully it will slowly roll out to the general population leading up to May 2nd.”

Will you be showing the other armors?
“We showed two suits so far. We showed the Mark 1 and the Mark III. We’ve got to save something. We’ve got to save some surprises. We’ve got a year.”

You look great. Did you lose some weight while working on Iron Man?
“Yeah, like 80 pounds.”

How did you do it?
“Running from my chair to in front of the camera a lot to talk to the actors. As a director, you always eat a lot and you still manage to lose weight. It’s like Deadliest Catch, working on this crab boat. You’re burning so many calories by worrying and staying up and working so hard you usually lose a little bit of weight. This time around I decided to not go to the craft service table and be very careful about what I ate and the weight came off in a few months.”

Was it a conscious decision to lose weight or did it just happen?
“It was very conscious. I knew I would do a cameo in the movie so I wanted to look good and then I just kept going with it. Just watching how much – just eat less food. I mean it sounds silly but that was my secret.”

Can you confirm any of the other actors who have cameos in Iron Man?
“Let me tell you something. There’s a lot of speculation about cameos in the movie and most of them are completely unfounded. And as far as Sam Jackson, as far as I’m concerned there is only one Nick Fury and that’s David Hasselhoff.”

Will you be doing more acting soon or staying behind the camera?
“I like acting a lot. I hope to do some. I always manage to do something with Vince [Vaughn] and hope to do some work with him and maybe do some comedy with him. We’ll see how this goes. The jury’s out on this movie till it comes out. It’s a two years process to make these types of movies, so hopefully between now and if I’m so lucky to make another Iron Man movie, I’ll hopefully get to do some acting and maybe some other movies.”

What did you learn from working on Daredevil as an actor that you brought to being a director on Iron Man?
“Wow, as an actor I didn’t really learn a lot because I was so on the periphery as a supporting character, as sort of a comedic sidekick. I learned that you don’t shoot more movie than you intend to put on the screen. You waste a lot of time and money so really get the story right before you go into production. And I also learned that if you make a movie, make it something that you don’t have to be a comic book fan to appreciate. I think Daredevil, a lot of effort was put into keeping it true to the books. I think tonally it didn’t ever grow to the next level of success. It was certainly a successful film but I think it could have done better if the audience was broader for it.”

So there’s not going to be a 40 hour extended cut of Iron Man?
“No, I hope not. I looked at a cut that the longest with everything was a little less than three hours, which isn’t that long for a first cut. It’ll be below two by the time it comes out. So I have a lot of decisions to make.”

What can you say about the comic book you’re writing?
“The comic book I’m writing, Adi Granov and I started working together in designing the suit for the movie I wanted him as involved as I could be to stay true to that vision. I thought his vision for the hero was wonderful. And then he hit me up, he said, ‘You ever think of writing books?’ I said, ‘Not really. I don’t know that much about that process.’ He said, ‘I’ll help you with it.’ We’ve been very collaborative. It’s gonna be Iron Man Viva Las Vegas. He’s going to fight Fin Fang Foom on the Vegas Strip.”

Does the comic book stay within the movie universe?
“I broke out of this movie universe. It was too restrictive. I want to have him changing with an attaché case and I wanted to be able to draw the Marvel universe more.”

When will it be out?
“Before the movie. I’m not sure when they’ll be releasing it.”

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