If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be crazy about super hero movies, I’d probably well have, told you that you were crazy. That was before this mom got introduced to a whole new genre of superheros from Marvel. I fell in love with the Iron Man movies and Captain America, and had an amazing opportunity last April to travel to a special premier of Marvel’s The Avengers at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC and interview stars from the film.
A few weeks ago when I was I was in Los Angeles for a blogger event for another film I had a top secret superhero opportunity that I wasn’t allowed to talk about until now. Marvel’s President Kevin Feige was available to give myself and a few of my blogging buddies a special sneak peek of the new Iron Man 3 and to also to talk to us about the film and Marvel’s role in family entertainment.
A special movie trailer just became available on Iron Man 3 this morning and we also have it here for you too! Here’s the clip below:
And here is our interview with Marvel’s Kevin Feige.
On Tony Stark & Iron Man 3
Coming off the heels of Avengers, we wanted to focus on Tony. Seeing him with the Hulk and Thor, obviously was awesome and was our big event last Summer. This time we wanted to return to Tony’s world. His place in Malibu, which is why you see him with Pepper. And we wanted to remind the audience, yes the suits are cool, but it’s his intellect that is really his super power. You’ll remember the beginning of Iron Man 1, he’s in a cave. He doesn’t have access to anything, and he ends up building his first Iron Man suit. So what we wanted to do in this movie was put him in a similar position. Take away everything from Tony and see how he can fight the villain back. He’s been to outer space, he’s seen aliens, he’s seen green people, he’s seen guys with hammers, and he’s just a guy. So it sometimes worries him and he thinks maybe I’m only super if I’m in the suit. This movie is the movie that reminds him he’s super, even out of his suit. He just has to sort of figure that out.
Happy Hogan is again played by Jon Favreau, who is one of Tony Stark’s best friends. Is hurt, seemingly an attack by the new villain as Mandarin, a terrorist in this world. And he’s going to investigate who this terrorist is and where he can find him. And it leads him to a place Tony’s never been in any of the movies, which is the middle of the good old US of A. He’s in small town, Rose Hill, Tennessee. And he meets a boy.
But we really wanted him to be fighting for his friends, for the love of his life, Pepper, who wants to see him as something that he’s not. He’s comfortable in the Penthouses of Manhattan, in mansions in Malibu. Here he is in the middle of Tennessee with his hat pulled low and he’s trying to do this investigation. And this very sweet and funny relationship that he begins with this little boy. Again, reminding the audience he’s a superhero, he’s frankly our most famous superhero, all because he’s got a very intelligent, scientific mind.
On the Addition of a Child to Iron Man 3
That little kid is named Tyson. We had this idea to team him up with a little kid for a section of the movie. And it was a little bit scary. So we auditioned lots and lots of kids and Tyson came in and was just a real kid. He could barely keep a straight face looking at Robert. He bonded with Robert completely and we decided, to cast him. I called Robert, I said, I think he’s the best kid, I’m going to cast him. He said, let me call him. So I called his mom, and I said what time does he get out of school and what’s his cell phone? And when he came out of school, his cell phone rang and it was Robert Downey, Jr. calling saying, you’re going to be in Iron Man 3. And so it continued like that for the rest of the production. It was really great and they formed a nice bond.
And it is a fun bond. Tony does not treat him like a kid necessarily. He goes on in this scene and he doesn’t, you know, pat him on the head and treat him like a little boy necessarily. Which I think little boys like when adults don’t treat them like that. We’ve screened it for a few audiences just in a normal test screening, and this relationship is ranked as one of the most surprising, and unique, and new things about the movie. Which was exciting because it was one of the scary things. We’ve never done…we never really had a kid that, a little kid that had that big a part in any of our films. So that was exciting.
On Marvel’s Partnership With Disney
Well, I’ll tell you a few things. One is, I’m obsessed with Disney and with Disney theme parks, and when I was first told by the heads of Marvel, what do you think of Disney? We’re thinking of selling the company. I pulled out my wallet, I got the annual pass, the Disney DVC membership, all of that stuff, because I was just obsessed with it. That’s what my family did, was go to the Disney theme parks every year. And still do, over New Years down in Florida.
So I sort of loved that, and I thought it was great. I understood why they wanted us, because they didn’t necessarily have things for boys and for that market. And they were very great in early meetings we had with them. They said we want you to keep doing what you’re doing. And that was, I don’t know, two years ago now. Two or three years ago. And that has that has certainly held true. They’ve let us make the movies we want to make the way we make them.
The best thing, and Avengers is the perfect example of it, is what they can tap into. All of the marketing that they bring to it. The passion that they bring to it. They did a spectacular job marketing the Avengers. And tapping into everything that a company as huge as Disney can do. But at the same time, what I love most about them is, despite it being the biggest entertainment conglomerate on earth, I think it is, it’s Disney and it can be very personal.
And as we get into more of the parks and things like that, I want kids to be able to come experience Marvel the way I would go experience the Disney parks and still do. So it’s been, I mean it’s been very positive in the fact that we have a home now. It is clearly, a family here with Disney and they put everything into it when the movie comes out.
On the PG-13 Rating for Iron Man 3…
I know parents who take their four year olds, and I know parents who won’t let their kids see them until they’re thirteen. So that really, it all, you know, depends on that. For us, there are things you can do if you are going by the letter of the law in a PG-13 movie. There’s a level of violence you can add, there’s a level of sexuality you can have, there’s a level of language you can have. We never go anywhere near that, top of that. Because we don’t want to. Because that’s not what our characters are about.
When you have the amount of fighting and explosions and some blood on his nose when he puts the suit on, we do want that. We want it to be real. Otherwise it’s just a CG thing hitting a CG person. So that’s why we’re always in that PG-13 range. But we want, you know, Jon Favreau on the first two, movies, Joss Whedon on the Avengers, myself, we have kids. We want to be able to take our kids to these movies, um, and to enjoy them. It’s really the level of intensity that determines, you know, whether parents are comfortable taking their kids to it as opposed to content, necessarily.
And in terms of the marketing of this movie, if you go back and look at the marketing of Avengers.it promises a much darker important movie than the movie actually is. The movie is much more fun than the- than the trailer would show. Same thing with this. This trailer is, he’s being blown apart, his life is at stake, how will he get out of it? The movie is much, much funner. Much more fun than that, but that’s what gets people into the audience. Is he gonna get killed? I gotta go see this. What’s gonna happen? Thank goodness, that’s what we want.
On the Marvel Legacy and How it Touches Different Generations
In terms of what differentiates it, I mean I do think that- that there’s a legacy with Marvel, and there’s a history with Marvel. And you have grandparents and parents and kids and little kids that know them whether they read them, you know… I’ve met, um, people that are eighty years old, ninety years old, that talk about reading a Captain American comic in the…I don’t know if they were actually in the trenches, but somewhere at some point in World War II. And I had a three year old, a nephew, and I have a four year old daughter who asked me all about Iron Man.
Does he fly? Is he a robot? What is it? Because of the toys. Or because of the pajamas, or because of the shoes. I love that about Marvel. I love that it can stay cool and relevant from a two year old to a twelve year old to a twenty-two year old to a ninety-two year old. That’s important to us. How do we it differently? I can’t really tell you, other than to say, we always just focus on the character. It always starts with, what do want this character to go through? What mission do we want the character…?
What emotional sort of depth and growth do we want him to go through? Then we think of all the cool stuff to- to put him through, as opposed to, oh I always wanted to see Iron Man’s house fall into the sea. We don’t start there. We start with, what is the- what is the character journey we want to take him on? And we really do. We call him Tony Stark, not Iron Man. When we’re just in our own meetings, we refer to Captain America as Steve. We refer to Thor as Thor. We refer to Hulk as Bruce. Because these are, you know, real people that we want to continue to flush out movie to movie to movie.
On Attracting a Female Audience to Marvel
Well, I mean we want these movies to play for everyone. We think they are for everyone. And I don’t know that we necessarily sit down and go, how do we make men like this movie? How do we make women like this movie? We don’t do that. Part of what we love about our characters is they, they’re human, they’re flawed. They react even with aliens coming at them and armored suits flying at them and villains shooting rays at them. The way they respond to those situations, we try to make it as emotionally truthful as possible.
So we want the most fantastic thing to be the outer space elements of Avengers. The advanced technology of Iron Man. Let that be the comic book element. But the human interaction should be real. It should be as real as possible. Um, and I think that appeals to people who might not just love the explosions and the loud noises and the clacking and the repulsing. And in this franchise in particular, and it’s sort of unique, frankly. This is now the fourth movie, um, if you count Avengers with Iron Man.
And he’s been with the same woman the whole time, and the relationship just grows. And the relationship gets deeper and deeper. And in this film they live together. And, you saw a little bit of the banter with Rebecca Hall who plays a new character, Maya. But the truth of the matter is, the love triangle in this movie is really between Tony, Pepper and the suits. Tony, Pepper and his obsession with those suits, and the obsession with technology. And it’s sort of unique for a big superhero summer blockbuster franchise to have, I think, that kind of layers.
On Marvel’s Characters Setting Positive Male Role Models with Women
Well, Pepper, was always the most important relationship to Tony Stark in the comics. That’s not always true I guess Clark Kent has Lois Lane, right? That said. A lot of the other characters don’t have that. The Marvel characters sort of do. Thor has the Natalie Portman character who continues into the next Thor film. So we do, you know, pull it all from the comics and that is what, what it was. It really was fun to us in the beginning of Iron Man 1.
He goes to Vegas, he sleeps with a reporter, to sort of set up that, so that the relationship with Pepper, there’s a flashback at the beginning of this movie with the Rebecca Hall character that shows what he was like many years ago, before he became Iron Man. And you see a little bit of that playboy. But the fact is, you always want to remind audiences of that side of him, so you can appreciate how, sort of mature he’s getting. That he’s putting all that aside to be with her. The other thing is, the chemistry between Robert and Gwyneth is spectacular.
And, we just want to keep it with each movie we go, do we want to bring her back? Yes, of course. Because it’s just so strong. Yknow, the marketing to Avengers, you may remember the big line, uh, Steve Rogers, Captain America says, you know, without a suit of armor what are you? And he says, billionaire playboy, philanthropist, whatever, and even Robert would go, I’m not really a playboy anymore. And I’d say, the line’s good, it’s okay. It’s fun. Uh, uh, but even he was like, I’m not really a playboy. And he’s not.
And even in Avengers, you can tell how close he is with Pepper and that, in those few scenes together. And when he’s flying up to save the- save the planet, he calls her. That’s the one call. So we just love, frankly, that it’s unique in these kind of movies. We think it’s a, you know, an important relationship between them.
On Pepper taking on a bigger role in the suit….
I will tell you this. In this movie we, we play with the convention of the damsel in distress. We are bored by the damsel in distress. But, somet imeswe need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with, is Pepper in danger or is Pepper the savior? Uh, over the course of this movie.
In terms of where we go with future movies, we’ll see. In the comic books she does get a taste for the suit and becomes her own hero named Rescue, who doesn’t necessarily battle other people, but is on missions to help people and to save people. Will we do that down the line with Gwyneth Paltrow? Who knows. But it’s certainly something…her being in the suit is something we have been playing with since Iron Man 2. We did some designs and it didn’t end up fitting in that movie. But the little taste you saw here is something that we’re certainly interested in.
On the Ending of Iron Man 3
….We have what I think is the biggest, you know, most action packed finale we’ve had. I showed the film to Joss Whedon who is our writer-director of Avengers, is currently working on Avengers 2, and he saw the finale of this and he goes, now what am I supposed to do now? What am I going to do in Avengers 2?
Disclosure: I attended a blogger event for purposes of covering this movie and other Disney films. However all opinions expressed are my own. Our family loves Iron Man and from the previews I saw this is a 2013 film you won’t want to miss!