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April 24, 2008

Iron Man(film)

Filed under: Uncategorized — nazalea @ 1:30 pm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iron Man

Domestic poster
Directed by Jon Favreau
Produced by Avi Arad
Kevin Feige
Written by Screenplay:
John August
(uncredited)
Mark Fergus
Hawk Ostby
Arthur Marcum
Matthew Hollaway
Comic Book:
Stan Lee
Larry Lieber
Don Heck
Jack Kirby
Starring Robert Downey Jr.
Terrence Howard
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jeff Bridges
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography Matthew Libatique
Distributed by United States: Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) Global:
April 30, 2008
Australia:
May 1, 2008
United States:
United Kingdom:
May 2, 2008
Running time 126 min[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $135 million[2]
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Iron Man is an upcoming 2008 superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Iron Man. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film is about Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a billionaire industrialist who is captured by terrorists in Afghanistan. Ordered to build a missile for them, Stark uses his resources instead to build a suit of power armor and make his escape. Returning to America, Stark improves his armor and becomes the technologically advanced superhero Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow plays his secretary and love interest Virginia Potts, Terrence Howard plays jet pilot James Rhodes, and Jeff Bridges plays the villainous Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger.

The film began development at Universal Studios in 1990 as a low-budget production. 20th Century Fox earned the rights in 1996, before handing them over to New Line Cinema four years later. Marvel Studios reacquired the rights in 2006, and put the project in production as their first self-financed film. Favreau signed on as director, aiming for a realistic feel, and chose to shoot the film primarily in California, rejecting the East Coast setting of the comics so as to differentiate the film from numerous superhero movies set in New York City-esque environments. Stan Winston Studios built the armor seen in the film, which is modeled after Adi Granov’s comic book art of the character; Granov himself started working on the film after recognizing his work on the director’s MySpace page.

Marvel and Paramount Pictures, the distributor, have planned a $50 million marketing campaign for the film, which is modeled on Paramount’s successful promotion of Transformers (2007); Hasbro and Sega will sell merchandise, and product placement deals were made with Audi, Burger King and 7-Eleven. Iron Man will be released in most countries on April 30, 2008, and the film’s stars have signed on for a sequel. Favreau had planned out a trilogy, depicting Stark’s alcoholism, Rhodes becoming War Machine, and the introduction of the Mandarin, whose presence is foreshadowed in this film. Downey is also reprising his role in a cameo appearance for the upcoming The Incredible Hulk.

 

[edit] Plot

Weapons designer Tony Stark is in Afghanistan to introduce his new missile design, “The Jericho”, to the United States Air Force when the unit he is traveling with is attacked. Stark is then taken hostage after he is injured by shrapnel embedded near his heart, and is ordered by his captors to assemble a weapon for them, being given access to a workshop. With the aid of a fellow captive Yinsen, he puts his creativity to use instead by assembling a bulletproof suit of power armor, complete with pacemaker and flamethrowers, and uses it to free himself.[3] Back in the United States, he becomes Iron Man, developing a flying suit with advanced weapon capabilities.[4] Stark faces the Iron Monger.

 

[edit] Cast

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man: Favreau had planned to cast a newcomer in the role,[6] but ultimately chose Downey (a fan of the comic)[7] because he felt the actor’s past, including cocaine abuse, made him an appropriate choice for the part. “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye,” the director explained. “He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic-book character who is having trouble in high school, or can’t get the girl.”[7] Favreau also felt Downey could make Stark a “likable asshole”, but also depict an authentic emotional journey once he won over the audience.[8]
    Downey had an office next to Favreau during pre-production, which allowed him greater involvement in the screenwriting process.[5] He brought a deeper sense of humor to the film not present in previous drafts of the script.[9] He explained, “What I usually hate about these [superhero] movies [is] when suddenly the guy that you were digging turns into Dudley Do-Right, and then you’re supposed to buy into all his ‘Let’s go do some good!’ That Eliot Ness-in-a-cape-type thing. What was really important to me was to not have him change so much that he’s unrecognizable. When someone used to be a schmuck and they’re not anymore, hopefully they still have a sense of humor.”[10] To prepare, Downey spent five days a week weight training and practiced martial arts to get into shape,[7] which benefitted him because “it’s hard not to have a personality meltdown […] after about several hours in that suit. I’m calling up every therapeutic moment I can think of to just get through the day.”[11]
  • Terrence Howard as Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes: A pilot who befriends Stark when Iron Man saves his life after a plane crash left him stranded behind enemy lines, and is the liaison between Stark Industries and the military in the department of acquisitions. Favreau cast Howard because he felt he could play War Machine in a sequel.[12] Howard prepared for the role by visiting Nellis Air Force Base on March 16, 2007, where he observed HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and F-22 Raptors.[13] Howard and his father are Iron Man fans, partly because Rhodes was one of the few black superheroes when he was a child.[14] He has also been a Downey fan since he saw him in Weird Science. They competed physically on set: “Robert and his competitive ass almost tore my shoulder trying to keep up with him. Because I’m forty or fifty pounds heavier than him, so I’m in there lifting and I pushed up about 225 and knocked it out ten times. Robert wanted to go about 235, and he did it. So I’m going to push it up to about 245. I took him out running and gave him some nice cramps. He couldn’t walk after a couple of days.”[15] While Rhodes is roguish in the comics after he met Stark, the disciplinarian character forms a dynamic with Stark. “Rhodey is completely disgusted with the way Tony has lived his life, but at a certain point he realizes that perhaps there is a different way,” Howard said. “Whose life is the right way; is it the strict military life, or the life of an independent?”[11]
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts: Stark’s personal secretary and budding love interest. Paltrow read many of the Iron Man comics owned by her husband Chris Martin (who is a major comics fan), to prepare for the part.[16]
  • Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger: An advisor of Stark and his late father, who takes over the corporation during his kidnapping and renames it Stane International. Bridges read the comics as a boy and liked Favreau’s realistic approach. He shaved his hair for the role, which was something he had wanted to do for some time. Bridges googled the Book of Obadiah, and was surprised to learn retribution is a major theme in that particular book of the Bible, something which Stane represents.[17]
  • Shaun Toub as Yinsen: Stark’s fellow captive in Afghanistan. He is a doctor who has traveled the world, and aids Stark in keeping the Mark I a secret.[17]
  • Faran Tahir as Raza: The terrorist in an alliance with Stane who captures Stark and forces him into creating a weapon for them. Tahir is an Iron Man reader.[17]
  • Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart: A “fast-talking” reporter.[18]
  • Bill Smitrovich as Air Force General Gabriel.[17]
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.[19] It was hoped that this casting decision would please fans of Marvel’s Ultimates series in which Nick Fury is depicted as looking exactly like Jackson, but with an eye patch, and was intended to be a secret.[20] Whilst his scene was seemingly cut from preview screenings[21] , the BBFC guidelines show him as being present in the final theatrical cut.[22]
  • Gerard Sanders as Howard Stark: Tony Stark’s late father, who had a business relationship with Obadiah Stane and died sometime before the film takes place.[23]

Cameos include actress Hilary Swank,[19] Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee (whom Stark mistakes for Hugh Hefner at a party),[24] rapper Ghostface Killah,[25] and director Jon Favreau as Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan.[9]

 

[edit] Production

 

[edit] Development

In April 1990, Universal Studios bought the rights to develop Iron Man for the big screen.[26] Stuart Gordon was to direct Universal’s low-budget film.[11] By February 1996, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights from Universal.[27] In January 1997, actor Nicolas Cage expressed interest in being cast for the lead role,[28] and in September 1998, actor Tom Cruise had expressed interest in producing as well as starring in the film debut of Iron Man.[29] Jeff Vintar and Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee co-wrote a story which Vintar adapted into a screenplay. Jeffrey Caine (GoldenEye) rewrote Vintar’s script.[30] Director Quentin Tarantino was approached in October 1999 to write and direct Iron Man.[31] With no deal made, Fox eventually sold the rights to New Line Cinema the following December.[32] By July 2000, the film was being written for the studio[33] by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio,[30] and Tim McCanlies.[34] McCanlies’s script used the idea of a Nick Fury cameo to set up his own film.[30] New Line entered talks with Joss Whedon, a fan of the character Iron Man, in June 2001 for the possibility of the director taking the helm.[35] In December 2002, McCanlies had turned in a completed script.[36]

“We worked with Michael Crichton’s researchers to find a grounded realistic way to deal with the suit. The idea was he needed the suit to stay alive. He’s the same guy we used with Spider-Man 2 to come up with Doc Ock’s inhibitor chips and what the arms are made of and how they work. […] Mandarin was an Indonesian terrorist who masqueraded as a rich playboy who Tony knew.”
—Alfred Gough on his draft for Nick Cassavetes’s and New Line’s aborted version[37]

In December 2004, the studio attached director Nick Cassavetes to the project for a target 2006 release.[38] After two years of unsuccessful development, and the deal with director Cassavetes falling through, New Line Cinema returned the film rights to Marvel. Screenplay drafts had been written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and David Hayter, but they were not retained. New Line’s script pitted Iron Man against his father, who becomes War Machine.[39] In November 2005, Marvel Studios worked to start development from scratch,[40] and announced it as their first independent feature, as Iron Man was their only major character not depicted in live action.[5]

In April 2006, Jon Favreau became the film’s director, with Arthur Marcum and Matt Holloway writing the script.[41] Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby worked separately, with Favreau compiling both team’s scripts together,[42] and the script received a polish by John August.[43] Favreau had wanted to work with Marvel producer Avi Arad on another film after the Daredevil adaptation.[5] Favreau celebrated getting the job by going on a diet, and lost seventy pounds.[11] The director found the opportunity to create a politically ambitious “ultimate spy movie” in Iron Man, citing inspiration from Tom Clancy, James Bond and RoboCop.[3] Favreau also described his approach as similar to an independent film, “[i]f Robert Altman had directed Superman“,[5] and also cited Batman Begins as an inspiration.[44] Favreau changed the Vietnam War origin of the character to Afghanistan, as he did not want to do a period piece.[12] Choosing a villain was difficult for Favreau, who felt Iron Man’s nemesis the Mandarin would not feel realistic, as the film’s origin story would only service the science fiction of Iron Man’s armor, and not the fantasy of the Mandarin’s rings.[45] The decision to push him into the background is comparable to Sauron in The Lord of the Rings,[44] and Palpatine in the original Star Wars film.[45] Iron Monger was chosen as Favreau wanted Iron Man to face a giant enemy, akin to RoboCop 2. Crimson Dynamo was also a villain in early drafts in the script.[9]

 

[edit] Filming

Production was based in the former Hughes Company soundstages in Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California.[46] Favreau rejected the East Coast setting of the comic books as many superhero films were set there, and he wanted to avoid repetition in his film.[12] Hughes was one of the inspirations for the comic book, and the filmmakers acknowledged the coincidence that they would film Iron Man creating the flying Mark III where the Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” was built.[17]

Filming began on March 12, 2007,[47] with the first few weeks spent on Stark’s captivity in Afghanistan.[48] The cave where Stark is imprisoned was a 150-200 yard long set, which was built with movable forks in the caverns to allow greater freedom for the film’s crew.[12] Production designer J. Michael Riva saw footage of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, and saw the cold breath as he spoke: realizing remote caves are actually very cold, Riva placed an air conditioning system in the set. He also sought Downey’s advice about make-shift objects in prison, such as a sock being used to make tea. All this created greater authenticity.[17] Afterwards, Stark’s capture was filmed at Lone Pine, and other exterior scenes in Afghanistan were filmed at Olancha Sand Dunes. There, the crew had to endure two days of 40 to 60-mile an hour winds.[17]

Filming at Edwards Air Force Base began in mid-April,[49] and was completed on May 2.[50] The exterior of Stark’s home was built in Malibu:[51] the interior was built at Playa Vista, where Favreau and Riva aimed to make Stark’s home look less futuristic and more “grease monkey”.[17] Filming concluded on June 25, 2007 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.[52] Favreau, a newcomer to action films, remarked “I’m shocked that I [was] on schedule. I thought that there were going to be many curveballs.” He hired “people who are good at creating action”, so “the human story [felt] like it belongs to the comic book genre”.[11]

Favreau preferred improvisation in dialogue scenes, calling back to his Altman influence. Jeff Bridges noted, “I know Jon is very interested in grounding it as much in reality as he possibly can.”[53] Downey explained, “I’ve come in on a number of days and said, ‘I’ve seen this in a movie before, but what if we do this?'”[11] For a scene where Stark holds a news conference, 400 extras were meant to stand, and the lighting had been organized to suit that. Downey suggested they sit down, and Favreau agreed.[11] Downey also created the line, “I don’t like the weapon you don’t have to fire. I like the weapon you have to fire only once. That’s how dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far.”[8]

 

[edit] Effects

Iron Monger, built for the film by Stan Winston's company

Iron Monger, built for the film by Stan Winston’s company

Favreau wanted the film to be believable by showing the construction of the suit in its three stages.[12] Stan Winston, a fan of the comic book, and his company built metal and rubber versions of the armors. They had previously worked on Favreau’s Zathura.[17] Favreau’s main concern with the effects was whether the transition between the computer-generated and practical costumes would be too obvious.[54] Industrial Light & Magic was hired to create the bulk of the visual effects with additional work being completed by The Orphanage and The Embassy; Favreau trusted ILM after seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Transformers.[17]

The Mark I design was intended to look like it was built from spare parts: particularly, the back is less armored than the front, as Stark would use his resources to make a forward attack. A single ninety-pound version was built, causing concern when a stuntman fell over inside it. Fortunately, it was not damaged. The armor was also designed to only have its top half worn at times.[17] The Embassy created a digital version of the Mark I.[55] Stan Winston Studios built a ten foot tall, 800 pound Iron Monger animatronic (which was designed as an evolution of the Mark I), which required five operators for the arm. It was built on a gimbal to simulate walking.[17]

Iron Man comic book artist Adi Granov designed the Mark III with Phil Saunders.[56] Granov’s designs were the primary inspiration for the film’s design, and he came on board the film after he recognized his work on Jon Favreau’s MySpace page.[44] Saunders streamlined Granov’s concept art, making it stealthier and less cartoonish in its proportions.[17] Sometimes, Downey would only wear the helmet, sleeves and chest of the costume over a motion capture suit.[17] For shots of the Mark III flying, it was animated to look realistic by taking off slowly, and landing quickly. To generate shots of Iron Man and the F-22 Raptors battling, cameras were flown in the air to provide reference for physics, wind and frost on the lenses.[57]

 

[edit] Music

Composer Ramin Djawadi is an Iron Man fan, and still has comic book issues from the late 1970s. While he normally composes after watching an assembly cut, Djawadi began work after seeing the teaser trailer. Favreau clearly envisioned a focus on “heavy” guitar in the score, and Djawadi composed the music on that instrument before arranging it for orchestra. The composer said Downey’s performance inspired the several Iron Man themes (for his different moods), as well as Stark’s playboy leitmotif. Djawadi’s favorite of the Iron Man themes is the “kickass” because of its “rhythmic pattern that is a hook on its own. Very much like a machine.” The other themes are “not so much character based, but rather plot based that carry you through the movie”.[58]

 

[edit] Release

The premiere was held at the Greater Union theater at George Street, Sydney, on April 14, 2008.[59] The movie will hit the theaters world-wide on May 2, 2008.

 

[edit] Marketing

Marvel and Paramount are modeling their marketing campaign for Iron Man on that of Transformers.[60] Sega will release a video game based on the film as well as the classic iterations of the character.[61] A 30-second spot for the film played during a Super Bowl XLII break.[62] 6400 7-Eleven stores in the United States will help to promote the film, and LG Group has also made a deal with Paramount.[60] Hasbro has created figures of the Mark I and Mark III armor, as well as Titanium Man (who appears in the video game) and the World War Hulk armor.[63]

Worldwide, Burger King and Audi will help promote the film. Jon Favreau will direct an advert for the fast-food chain, as Michael Bay did for Transformers.[60] In the film, Tony Stark drives an Audi R8 as part of the studio’s product placement deal with the automobile company Audi. Three other vehicles, the Audi S6 sedan, Audi S5 sports coupe and the Audi Q7 SUV, also appear in the film.[64] Audi will also create a tie-in website, as General Motors did for Transformers. In all, US$50 million will be spent by Iron Man’s promotional partners.[60]

 

[edit] Sequel

Jon Favreau planned out Iron Man as the first in a trilogy, and has signed on all the original actors.[12] He feels that sequels could allow a latitude in tone,[8] and explore darker story elements such as alcoholism, which he intentionally set aside from the first film.[6] Favreau feels depicting Iron Man’s nemesis, the Mandarin, will be challenging, as he finds the character (who was created as a metaphor for communism) dated.[8] Downey said he is so passionate for the character that he would make 15 sequels.[9]

In addition, Downey is reprising his role for a cameo appearance in The Incredible Hulk (2008).[65] Favreau has also expressed interest in directing Downey as the character in an Avengers movie.

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