WonderCon: The Iron Man Presentation!

Here is Anthony Baratta’s full rundown of the Iron Man presentation that took place at WonderCon 2008 in San Francisco on Saturday:

Jon Favreau discussed a wide range of themes about the movie and directing an action film.

He mentioned that he had spoken with Sharon Osborne about using Black Sabbath’s song “Iron Man,” and that it was approved (obviously since it’s used in one of the trailers).

Jon talked about how they worked very hard to stay true to the original story line with “Iron Man” and while they needed to focus on the suit development, they were free to explore other twists and side plot developments. Marvel is a great company to work with. Because they are self-financed they do not feel they have to compromise on the plot and story.

He also discussed trying to get Robert Downey Jr. in the role of Tony Stark. He had to fight to get him cast. When the rumors started flowing about his casting and the fan base was extremely positive, that really helped sway the studio executives to hire Robert. John thinks Robert is a fantastic actor and person and was perfect for the role of Tony Stark.

Jon was very excited about the internet fan base and mentioned several times that the internet fans have guided and molded this project in subtle ways. He felt it was important to maintain a dialogue with the fans and listen to what they were saying. John is always checking out the fan sites and postings.

Jon was very knowledgeable about the “Iron Man” mythos and the multiple plot lines offered for a story by Marvel. One of his concerns was to stay true to the suit. The suit was the key to the movie. The costume/model designers (Stan Winston) crafted a very strong real life analog to the suit that was then enhanced with CG by ILM. He was amazed seeing some of the rendered scenes and was hard pressed to see the CG work that completed the suit’s features. He called it “seamless”.

Jon mentioned the effect that merchandising has on a movie. The toy companies are always looking for new things, and having 3 different suits of armor is key for them. Sequels are important to the merchandising effort. More types of armor – more toys.

One big difference between independent films and big budget films is re-use. Indie films try to re-use everything they can because of small budgets. Big budget films are not tied down like that, which leads to happy merchandisers.

Speaking of sequels, he is looking forward to making more “Iron Man” movies. Would like to deal with the war machine and demon in a bottle plot lines.

Loved working with the other cast members specifically spoke in glowing terms about Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard. Both were wonderful to work with.

He tried not to discuss the cross pollination with the other Marvel movies – would only mention that some of the rumors are true and others are not. Wanted to keep some more surprises in his bag for future use.

He showed several extended scenes from the movie. And the new 2.5-minute trailer that will be in front of “10,000 B.C.” A 90 second trailer will be shown with “Lost” next week.

The first extended scene was Tony Stark working on one of the boots. He’s talking to himself, or to the robot helping him, by holding a magnifying glass.

The second scene is Tony trying to fly with his new boots, and hand thrusters. First test throws him up and over equipment, and into a wall. He is then sprayed by one of his robots holding a fire extinguisher. (Note, the camera is held by one of his robots, and another robot is holding a fire extinguisher- he talks to them as if they are sentient.) Second test, before the test he dresses down the fire extinguisher robot about not spraying him. He is able to maneuver around the lab. Funny part as he goes over his car collection, the hoods get flamed by his thrusters. Finishes with the line from the trailer, “Yeah, I can fly.”

The third scene is Tony in a full test suit (Mark II?) and going through a diagnostic check, then – against Jarvis’s wishes he flies out into the open. Interestingly when we see Stark from inside, it’s his full face within the heads up display. We don’t get a view from inside the mask looking out. Shots of Iron Man flying through the city. Boot malfunctions and he crashes back into his house, through the floor and onto one of his classic cars. He is sprayed by the fire extinguisher robot.

The trailer shows Tony showing off a new weapon for the military. The test area is attacked and he is captured. Next scenes show Tony and Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) talking. Obadiah demands Tony manufacture him something. Tony works a piece of metal manually with fire hammer and tongs to create an Iron Man mask. Tony is rescued and returns home to create the Iron Man suit. Shots of creation and testing. Then shots of Obadiah with original drawn plans from Stark for suit and proceeds to build one. Next set of scenes show Iron Man battling Iron Monger. Ends with the scene where Iron Man dodges the tank round and shoots it back. Walks away from tank, with Black Sabbath’s Iron Man riff and tank explodes.

Jon talked about his full respect for action film directors in a CG world. They basically film a blank screen and fill in the rest with CG. He’s a proponent of using CG to do things they can’t do physically. And the want makes Iron Man work so well is that the suit is first and foremost a physical prop. The CG just enhances it.

Jon closed with that directors nowadays need a whole army of people to help them create a movie – so many things can go wrong – and he was grateful for all the fantastic people he had working on Iron Man.

To listen to Favreau talking about Iron Man at WonderCon, click here. Pictures of the event can be viewed here!

Source: Anthony Baratta