Jon Favreau on the Iron Man Franchise!

Jon Favreau just can’t seem to talk too much about Iron Man 2 without talking about Iron Man 3.

The actor/director, who sat down with Hype! to discuss Iron Man‘s upcoming DVD release on Sept. 30, revealed a wealth of information about his plans for helming billionaire Tony Stark’s next adventure(s) in his high-tech armor – everything’s still in the planning stages, but he and his collaborators have already targeted several overall story elements they expect to include. Among the revelations:

–Favreau, who admires long-form storytelling, has clearly given extensive thought to big-screen franchises, speaking in detailed terms about what worked and what didn’t in the “The Lord of the Rings,” “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” trilogies, and he expects to find storylines and themes that will carry through the second film and conclude in a third. He said he doesn’t foresee any problems devoting the bulk of his filmmaking efforts to seeing the franchise through to the end.

–Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Terrence Howard (James “Rhodey” Rhodes) are all on board for the sequel and enthusiastic about revisiting their characters. And Favreau will be back on screen as well as behind the camera, with a (possibly expanded) role as Happy Hogan.

–He recently met with Downey at the actor’s home and discussed at length the kind of character beats and moments he hopes to have when he returns to the character. Downey also introduced Favreau to actor/screenwriter Justin Theroux, who impressed Downey with his work on the actor’s second summer hit Tropic Thunder, and Theroux is now working with Favreau to develop the story.

–Iron Man’s classic comic book nemesis the Mandarin, the Asian crimelord who sports ten powerful ring weapons (alluded to in the first film through references to the terrorist cell the Ten Rings) will most likely emerge as a primary antagonist, although Favreau is still wrestling with how to address the villain’s mystical origins and fit them into the high-tech world established in the debut film. It’s also possible the Mandarin may not be fully revealed as the “Big Bad” until a possible third film to avoiding overexposing a potentially intriguing enemy .

–Favreau plans to follow the first film’s themes of integrating social and political themes into the adventure and fantasy, and he hinted at a current global situation providing some inspiration – possibly an allusion to plans to utilize Iron Man’s Russian counterpart, the Crimson Dynamo.

–Impressed by the use of IMAX footage in The Dark Knight, Favreau’s very open to including both IMAX and 3-D sequences in the sequel.

–The most well-known storylines from the comic book series – “Demon in a Bottle,” in which Stark becomes an alcoholic, and Rhodey taking over the role and armor of Iron Man during Stark’s recovery – are expected to be included, possibly both in the second sequel. Rhodey’s role in the first film was not as expansive as originally intended, and Favreau expects to rectify that.

–Favreau is also having designs developed for Rhodey’s “War Machine” armor, and even more upgraded and tricked-out versions of Stark’s suit may be utilized.

–Marvel’s current plans to set its upcoming slate of films – including Iron Man 2, Captain America, Thor and The Avengers – in the same shared universe as Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk is a tricky but still inviting prospect for Favreau, who plans to utilize his improvisational background to find clever ways to integrate certain elements of the other films into the sequels, enhancing and not disrupting his own storytelling needs. He thinks Cap and Hulk fit fairly easily into Iron Man’s world, while Thor is more of a challenge.

–The director is finding a degree of inspiration in comic book writer Matt Faction’s current run on “The Invincible Iron Man,” which he feels in turn found inspiration from his film.

Read what Favreau had to tell Hype! in detail:

Q: People were excited about “Iron Man” at the beginning of the summer, and then it hit bigger than people expected. Were you surprised, or did you know America needed Tony Stark?

Favreau: I was surprised by everything. I was surprised that the reviews were so strong. Then I was surprised that it made so much money and then I was surprised that “Dark Knight” had better reviews and that it made so much more money. So on the one hand it was really unexpected and a serendipitous summer for me and then on top of that it was surprising at just how history had been made by this other movie as well. Oddly, when “Dark Knight” finally came out and was received the way that it was it was such a relief for me because I really felt like we went from no one expecting anything to people starting to expect something to this new phenomena where they report what they project on making based on tracking. So we could’ve made $20 million or $30 million less than we opened to and been a huge hit, but having the perception of being a failure because we didn’t live up to the expectations based on the people who were reading that data. It wasn’t long ago that they would never even report what the number one movie was. Now the top ten box office is in USA Today and now it’s hitting this point where this real inside baseball tracking and projections and…all the fantasy mogul type sites. Those people are starting with their blogs to get out there and those numbers seep into all the mainstream Hollywood websites and it’s becoming one big bowl of information out there that you can’t really escape from. So first it was like, “Who the hell cares about Marvel’s B-level heroes that they’re marching out?” when they first announced that they were making the movie, to Comic-Con where it started building momentum a year later, to this fever pitch. It was this point where we were really scared that we were going to disappoint and then to the point where we outdid those expectations. So we’re there sort of teetering on the brink, and then “Dark Knight” comes in and just makes history. All of a sudden the relief of that spotlight moving off of us from the guard tower and now we have two years to lay low and really work on the movie without the type of scrutiny that we were feeling right in that white hot moment after we came out.

Q: Why do you think this period of time is so good for superhero movies?

Favreau: I think 9/11. I think that, interestingly enough today we’re meeting, but I think that was a game changer. I think people were looking for emotional simplicity, escapism and if you look at it, there were superhero movies before. “Spider-Man,” but that first “Spider-Man” was hitting right, I think, in May of 2002 when it was the first way that we could get to those emotions because you couldn’t say anything about politics. You couldn’t say anything about war. People just didn’t want to deal with it, but you put people in a costume and say, “This is the good guy. This is the bad guy,” and you either set in a fantasy world like “Lord of the Rings” or in the Marvel Universe, you all of a sudden allow people like kids and adults to experience those emotions in a way where they dealing with very real emotions in a very escapist way. I think that’s become more and more complex as we become more and more comfortable with where we are in the world now, whatever it is, seven years later and you can have a movie like “The Dark Knight,” where you start to deal with those things. You can show people on a battlefield in Afghanistan, like in “Iron Man.” There’s a line that you can’t cross, but that line is moving and I think there’s going to be a new thing here. I’m glad that I was able to hit the crest of this genre and I feel safe because now we have a built in audience and I think we’ll do well with our sequel, but you wonder when and how that is going to change because whoever gets voted in, you have probably the most extreme and contrasting figures that both political parties have to offer to what we’re currently experiencing. So I think there’s going to be an incredible transformation. I don’t know what it’s going to be. I don’t know how the economy is going to affect that. I don’t know what the politics are really going to look like, but I know that change is coming one way or another. They say one is change and one isn’t. I think that McCain has always been the guy who was the outsider within that party. So I think that even if McCain wins, you’re going to see incredible movement and incredible change within our political system and within our culture. So I wonder as a moviemaker how that’s going to affect audiences, what they like and what the attitude is, but I don’t think it’s something that turns on a dime. Then again I’m not going to be sitting here in front of you for another two years until the other movie, “Iron Man 2,” is coming out. I think by then the dust will have settled a little bit and it’ll be very interesting to see how to handle that.

Q: How has Marvel’s plan to integrate their universe in films changed your plan, going from a franchise to a mega-franchise?

Favreau: It’s tough because it first starts off like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we stuck a Captain America shield in the background? Wouldn’t it be fun if we have Sam Jackson play Nick Fury like in “The Ultimate Avengers”?’ It’s like, “Let’s prove ourselves to our fans.” So you do that. Now, between the Captain America shield and Nick Fury and then the after-the-credit scene that in the eleventh hour became the final scene of “The [Incredible] Hulk,” that one was a big one for me. I was like, “Wow, we’re forming a team. We’re going to that guy and you’re forming a team.” That’s clearly not the day after “Iron Man” ended. Where does it fit in the time continuum? I don’t want to just ignore it or do what the comic books have done. I guess you could do what Marvel has said: “It’s an alternate universe.” They’ve gotten away with that one for a couple of decades, but how do you make all that work within that world? Because I think it is fun and I think that “Hulk” was successful in keeping a tone that did not seem inconsistent with our film, and certainly with Robert being in there. But we definitely now have a lot of things [to consider]. Look, I come out of improv, and in improv you say, “Okay, give me a suggestion of a place, a line of dialogue –” and here it’s like, “Okay. Give me three scenes that I have to incorporate into my next movie.” So it’s a challenge. What’s refreshing is that I don’t go back and it’s not like you have a studio executive who could care less, like, “I don’t give a sh*t. Just make whatever, whatever tests best.” In this case you have Kevin Feige who’s like, “How are we going to solve this puzzle?” It’s like a Rubik’s Cube to them as well. Just all that brainpower addressing something makes you come up with interesting solutions. So we have a pretty good game plan. Then there are conversations that I’ve been having with them about “The Avengers” too. Remember, with “Avengers” you’re not just dealing with tech. You’re dealing with inter-dimensional portals and all the sh*t that makes you jump the shark if you don’t handle it right. So we were very restrained in how we used our superhero-ism in our movie and we did that by keeping it all tech based. Then “Hulk” went a little the same way. It’s still kind of tech-based. You get to Cap and you say, “Okay, he was frozen in that thing –” and it’s like, “Okay, I could maybe buy that, with the super-soldier thing.” Then you get into Thor and it’s like, “Okay, well now…” and so how do you make that all feel like it’s in the same world as our movie is? That’s going to be the challenge moving forward.

Q: You don’t have The Mandarin in “Iron Man” but you referenced him with the Ten Rings, and so you can get that fantastical stuff in there with that character if you wanted it, right?

Favreau: It is. The Mandarin is such a tricky character for us because everywhere you turn it’s a minefield. So we get into the mystical Asian dark arts and inter-dimensional travel and all the rings that do the different things and psychic abilities and stuff and it’s like, “That could be cool. Maybe it’s cool. Maybe if we make it really authentic.” Then you see the trailer for “The Mummy” movie and it’s like they’ve got The Manderin AND Fing Fang Foom in there! And they shot in China and it’s like as authentic as you’re ever going to get. It’s like, “Ooh, I don’t know if that fits our film.” It was great for “The Mummy,” though. So where do you go with it? What are your rules and how do you stay consistent with them? What happens is that people get desperate as they’re looking for inspiration to up the ante and so you start breaking your own rules, and that’s when the movies start to lose their identity.

Q: You’ve hinted at The Mandarin in the third film.

Favreau: Yeah, The Mandarin is still the guy. He’s the main guy, but we always remind ourselves that nobody liked The Emperor compared to Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” movies. He’s got the same lightening bolts, but when The Emperor was this figure that you just saw obliquely it was like, “Sh*t, Darth Vader is bowing to someone? That guy must be really cool!” But then as he talked more it was like, “Alright, enough.” In “The Clone Wars” he was like a sidekick. So it’s really all how you treat the person and that’s what informs what it’s going to be. So the Mandarin, to have that kind of weight to him is really a matter of using all the narrative tricks to do it, but a dude running and jumping around in robes shooting these beams and rays that have powers that really, if you take them literally, would throw off the balance of the whole universe. So how do you do that and keep the whole thing together, but yet fulfill the expectations from the book? We do have him and I think it’s something where I feel a little bit goes a long way. So there’s a lot of other characters and a lot of other countries that have become very interesting lately that fit very well into our universe. The “Iron Man” canon has become incredibly cogent and applicable once again.

Q: How is the writing coming along?

Favreau: The writing is really coming along quite well. We have Justin Theroux working on it, who Downey knows. He echoes Downey’s tastes a lot. They worked together on “Tropic Thunder.” He’s an actor. I come at it writing it the same way that he does and so he brings this real sense of fun. He’s never worked in this genre before and so he has that great newcomers enthusiasm that I think we still share. Then it’s about, “Okay, here are the books. Here’s what we’ve got. Here’s the story.” So we’re breaking story and pages are coming out, but it’s really more of a conversation than actual writing right now. The pages come, but the pages are never really what they are going to be in the movie up until the day you’re shooting, even on ours.

Q: Can you say which pages they are?

Favreau: Which pages of which comic book? No. We’re making our own story. Although, I’ll tell you which ones we’re looking at very closely, not so much for story, but for tone and the way it’s been executed – it’s the Matt Fraction stuff. I haven’t talked to him yet, but we want to talk to him and get him out here and get [comic book] Adi [Granov] out here and get some of the real defining lines from the book, but the Fraction series seems to be informed as much by our movie as it is by what happened with Iron Man before. So it’s a very curious combination. I’m dabbling [in comics] writing the “Viva Las Vegas” books and it’s fun, and I read what he does and it’s like, “Wow, this guy is really true to treating it like with a seriousness that you would a movie or a book.” For me it’s like all the stuff that I can’t do in a movie and see what Adi comes up with drawing. But there’s a different approach. The Fraction series is informed by current events and what’s going on in the world. I’m very impressed by what he’s written.

Q: The two major aspects of the “Iron Man” mythology are the “Demon in the Bottle” story and being replaced at some point by Rhodey. Do you have plans to look at that in the sequel?

Favreau: There’s always the sense of like, “Let’s save something for another movie.” But I think there’s a way to wade into it and if it’s done right you’re not going to have to turn on a dime. I know in “Spider-Man” he seems to be dealing with different issues in each film because they’re very modular. Ours we wanted to sort of stretch it out, more like three chapters of the same story. There was sense, even though I know they shot “Lord of the Rings” and re-shot some things, there was still some sense of an underlying movement of Aragorn to becoming king. But you watch the first movie or read the first book and you’re like, “Who is this mysterious guy, this Han Solo type character?” You’re like, “Great!” and as you add more detail to it he becomes a little bit less interesting to me and yet consistent in the story and then you feel like you’re being taken on a journey. I really like long form storytelling. I love television, not all television, but I really love certain TV shows. The ones that I like I really, really like even more than movies because you’re able to tell stories and it’s not like a haiku poem where you’re just telling a story in an hour and a half. You have a long time and I really liked the first season of “Heroes” and I’ll watch a thing back to back. I’ll just get the box set or just download it and watch the whole deal and I really looked forward to that… There’s a sense of using a much larger thing and you have much smarter audiences who have a tremendous capacity to remember things and have complex storytelling. You see it more in TV series and in video games now. Movies are kind of what they are. It’s like a rock and roll song. You have your thing, your bridge and your end and you have to fit that format. It’s very populist and it’s very accessible to everybody. How do you keep making rock and roll songs and do, whatever, “The White Album?” How do you put it all together with other movies and make it something that’s a larger experience for people who are paying attention and yet not so complex that if you’re not paying attention you’re going to not have fun. I found myself in a lot of the sequels, not this last year, but the year before, of movies that I really liked and having not gone back to watch the other ones and being a little bit lost to what’s going on. I’m a moviemaker and I’m pretty smart audience member and I just don’t have that attention span. I want to figure out if I can maybe get a better version of that going while still doing filmmaking and still upping the ante with how much you’re putting on the screen and the humor and the dialogue and living up to everything that people will have come to expect from the last movie we made.

Q: This movie ends with a brawl. In the sequel are you looking to transcend that and go bigger than that?

Favreau: I am. I mean, a lot of that truth be told came from the fact that we were being very ambitious as far as what we were going to accomplish with the amount of money that we had. So we went forward with the plan of, “Lets shoot as much practically as we can…” which I’m onboard for because I like that kind of thing. I loved the Stan Winston suit and the way that it was designed. I like going, “Let’s see what we can accomplish with it.” Well, the Mark I we got a lot accomplished with. I’d say that ninety percent of what you see in there is the suit with a little bit of wire removal or removing the hoses for the flames, but a lot of that was practical. Certainly it was just augmentation, and then by the time that you got to the Mark II you were doing a lot of flying and we hand it off even more and the suit that they built was a great reference for ILM, but then when we got into the stuff with him fighting with the real suit it just looked terrible. It looked like the Power Rangers. There was always the money for the real suit to be replaced. They always had it to the side and we finished on time and on budget so we had money left over to do that, and the problem is that even though you’re using a CG suit the plates and the action are still based on what someone was going to do on the ground. So it’s a sort of mixed blessing on. On the one hand it’s a bummer because we would’ve liked to have more of the flying, and we did add one sequence where they went up into space, but it just sort of sang really as well as it could’ve had we planned originally to have it that way. But the good news is that it was successful and people liked it because of the characters and the emotion and ultimately what the whole of the film was and it left us a lot of room to improve upon it for the next time around. That’s another big challenge, how do you outdo yourself. When you go to hear you have to go further the next time and you’re just going to lose your personality. So it’s nice to have succeeded with humble beginnings as far as the action goes. Now I know I’ve learned a lot more. The last thing that we shot, the re-shoots with what used to be second unit and then we went out there with a unit and shot it, the part where the hostages are being taken and the guns came out of the shoulders. I think we found the personality and the sense of humor of the action. I found a way to be smart and clever about that, I think, and that was always my problem. It was like whenever you cut to the action it was like, “Okay, now have them hit each other.” In every movie that you look at, even in the good ones it’s tough to get away from that whether it’s the new Batman, which is sort of the gold standard. But if you look at it it’s still just people fighting. It’s just people going at it and you have to do a good of it and have it coordinated well…If you remove it then it’s not a superhero movie anymore because there are people who will go to see that and that’s what’s going to make people go see your trailer and that’s what’s going to make you open enough to have the budget that you need to do it right.

Q: How much is Downey involved in the development of the sequel?

Favreau: I was at his house yesterday. I was there yesterday and he’s getting ready to go do “Sherlock Holmes,” leaving Sunday. He went to Japan briefly to promote this movie there, “Iron Man,” but clearly we met Justin through him. He really thought the world of him from that process and there was a lot of writing going on during that film too. There are things like, “What do you want to play, Robert? What should we do?” Robert was very collaborative on the set and writing it and making all the choices. Part of my gig is to not just ask him to stand on his mark, but learn to bring enough of his reality into it so that it seems interesting and has more dimension. So he’s been very involved and his star has only risen and his leverage is only greater, and now he’s not the guy who’s like, “Please let me screen test.” Now he’s the guy who’s being offered every movie in town.

Q: Are you logistically concerned with having huge stars and huge characters that if this combination of universes happens that they’ll have to share screen time and that all that business might get in the way of the storytelling?

Favreau: That’s sort of the danger isn’t it. Forget about creatively, but just from a perspective of finances, but somehow they make “Ocean’s 11.” So there are clearly business models and I think that it has more to do if people are enthusiastic and feel like they’re going to be in a movie that they’ll be proud of. The truth is that most stars of that level would love to be in a movie where they’re not everyday on the call sheet and they’re not the only one carrying the burden for the press junket.

Q: Since you’re coming back for the sequel to this and assuming a third one. that’ll be a decade in Tony Stark’s world. As a filmmaker does that make you want to slip a different one in there for yourself, or are you ready to just do ten years of this?

Favreau: It’s one day at a time and here’s the funny thing that happens. Well, this next one is going to be good because this next one is like, “Okay, now creatively I have a lot of room. They’ll pay me well if it does well. I know everybody and everybody can’t wait to see it.” On top of that, as a fan of these types of films, not necessarily the genre completely which is very hit or miss for me, but I’m definitely part of the audience. If it’s good I’m there. But I’m not going to go just because it’s this, but I notice a pattern where the second one, the sequels are usually better than the first ones because you know the origin story, you have that already and it’s been proven again with “Dark Knight.” You’ve got “X-Men 2,” “Spider-Man 2,” “Dark Knight.” When you get into three’s it gets weird. It’s real hit or miss and four as well. That’s even harder. So how do you avoid the mistakes of others, but I don’t really have to go there yet. I’m like, “Now is the time when I know who this guy is. They trust me as a director, the studio needs this and they’re just as excited about this as I am and everyone is waiting to see what we do next”…. So for the third one you’re asking yourself, “Okay, what are they asking of me? What is their left to say? What am I doing this for?” Then there’s a lot of pressure on you to do it. I think that it only continues as it goes on. What’s nice about this is with “The Avengers” you have other characters coming in and out and that’s going to change the dynamic of it too. I think also there would be more of a sense of fun at that point in doing it because you get more playful with the whole thing. But to answer your question, I would love to work for ten years on one successful L.A.-based franchise with people that I really like and connect with, telling stories that I think have some social and emotional resonance but aren’t so heavy handed that it’s not fun and I get to play with all the toys and the new CG and the new building sets and costumes and all the stuff that I love reading about in Starlog I get to do in the meetings. I don’t think it’s by accident that I ended up here. I worked hard and I always knew that this is something that I would love to be. This is the perfect situation right now.

Q: There’s also been talk of War Machine. Can you talk about that?

Favreau: I want to do it. We’re drawing War Machine. We’re figuring it out. We’re talking to Terrence [Howard]. We’re seeing if he can take some time out of his new life as a musician to be War Machine, to do it. I think that Terrence and the character of Rhodey was smaller in the first movie than we had anticipated, but that’s how it worked for the movie. That’s how it worked best for the story, the best way to tell that story of the origin, spending half of the movie in the cave. But it does set the table very well for this character. War Machine is fun and, again, you look for ways to up the ante. It’s tough to up the ante on the villain side without going into strange territories, but what we can do is really have a lot of fun with our family, our main characters and that includes myself. I expect to have more to do in this one or I will walk [Laughs]. We certainly have Rhodey and Gwyneth – really, it’s the best work that I’ve seen her do, for me, for my tastes. I know she’s won Oscars and stuff and she’s a good actress, but for me I thought that she had great chemistry with Robert. Of course we’ll see more of Robert and then we’ll see how that basic group of four people moves forward towards the inevitable “Avengers” that’s coming, and how The Mandarin, how largely he looms in this next one. These are the types of things that we’re doing, but mostly from a perspective of tone.

Q: You really reached out to the fans on this film, but at the same time there was a lot of stuff that leaked that you didn’t want out there. How are you going to deal with that this time around?

Favreau: We’re not. I think that it worked out. You don’t care if someone leaks something or if someone knows something. You care about whether it hurts the movie. So, Marvel knows that if you’re getting to the point where something is probably going to get leaked soon you release a photo and steal the thunder. Get a good well lit shot as opposed to some cell phone shot that someone else will take. You don’t want to ruin the nature of it. “Transformers” was incredibly successful, but if you remember early on there were photos that leaked out and it was like, “What’s this? That’s what the movie looks like?” So you have to learn how to deal with the rhythms of the Internet, but I’ll take it any day over people not caring and that’s what drove us. That Comic-Con bootleg video was the first thing that anyone saw and it was really fun. It was like they couldn’t quite make it out and they were trying like hell to get it down. It just took them a while. I was like, “Why are you even trying? It’s a good thing.” They were like, “No, no. We have to take it down.” I said, “Okay, we’ll put up a clean version.” Then eventually they put up a clean version on the Apple site, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as when you heard the crowd over the cell phone. So I know kind of what it is. I don’t get disappointed and frustrated. It’s just the nature of things…I’m not worried about the fans. It’s just a huge water cooler that everyone is talking around and with all this stuff like Twitter and everyone with their little blogs and their conversations in real time, people knew about “Iron Man” before that panel was out at Comic-Con because people were there on their laptops. So that’s incredible. That’s grass roots. That’s mobilizing. It’s like what’s happening to the political system. It’s here to stay. Embrace and don’t be scared and frustrated about it and try to stop it. It’s like trying to stop the tide. I think that I’m one of the few guys out there that really gets it. I think that Zack [Snyder] does too. Clearly he’s getting something going with “300” and “Watchmen” and that dialogue, but you can’t just hide and say that you’re not going to do press if you’re a director, not for this kind of movie. You’re one of the guys. You’re one of the stars. You have to be out there and you have to be promoting it and you should be happy that people are curious to ask you this kind of stuff. Fortunately I come from a background where I did have to promote things as an actor so that it doesn’t freak me out. I actually like it and I like to be able to speak about something that I’m actually having something to do with making and not just a character I’m playing and talking about the sh*t that I kept in my pocket when I performed, my acting motivation or how many times I spray-tanned.

Q: You mentioned “Dark Knight’s” jaw-dropping action. As a filmmaker are you even thinking about doing that too?

Favreau: I would love to do some IMAX stuff. I think that’s going to be a game-changer. I would love to do some of it on IMAX for IMAX. It’s all a matter of dollars and cents for them. I would also love to do 3-D.

Q: For this one?

Favreau: For this one. I would love to do 3-D because just think of the HUD. Just think of that virtual space and what that would be like, the layers and what you could get away with and how much fun it could be. It also drives people to see it in the theater and makes it that much more of an experience. But it all comes down to how much does it cost and what do they get for it. My leverage only goes so far with technical issues like that… But by the same token this is Tony Stark’s world, this is like James Bond. It’s got to feel big and he has to feel rich and he’s got to feel real. So that costs money. Then the action has to be more than what we had last time. So, Marvel has said to me that they’re certainly not going to try to save money on this film… Look, there’s clearly an amount of money that they have in mind that they talk about amongst themselves and the good news is that they’re not hitting me with a budget. What they’re saying is, “Lets get the best script that we can and lets look at it.” But everyone knows that they’re going to make another one of these and so it becomes more of a conversation as opposed to most films where it’s like, “You’re not going to get your green light if you don’t do this.” They clearly want to do it with me and with Robert and for 2010. So it’s a new experience. I haven’t gone through it before, but it worked out well the last time, which was probably a lot more challenging than what this time will be, especially when you see that we made over $300 million, which doesn’t seem to be an anomaly. “The Dark Knight” made $500 million. So there’s clearly an audience for this type of movie and I think that makes them comfortable, and I think the real winner is the fans. So in supporting these movies the fan has ensured that you’re going to have another crop of well-made sequels.

Source: Scott Huver